Last week I was leaving the grocery store, with my cart packed and I was crossing the street to my car and a gentleman started honking at me. I just assumed he was angry with me for walking in front of his car and I ignored him. He began honking even more and started shouting at me. “The nerve of this guy!” I thought to myself. What has this world come to? Everybody is angry and on edge and the slightest mistake leads to rage! I was very irritated but then finally he stuck his head out of his car and shouted “Your toilet paper fell out of your cart!” OMG! I was embarrassed and grateful and tried my best to quickly apologize for assuming he was just a jerk! As I pushed my cart to my car, I thought why did I just assume he was an angry driver, without compassion and only out for himself and somehow, I got in his way? Well, we all need a shot of compassion right now, even if we think we know or assume someone is “against” us.
This little incident was a small wake-up call for me to not get wrapped up in the hate and division that is occurring in our Country right now. People can still be good people, even if we disagree with them. My husband and I have talked about how it’s difficult to reconcile with others who may think differently than we do but when has one single view been the determinant of a person’s character? Yes, there have been many injustices in our country and those have to be addressed and rectified. But I’m not going to disown some family or friends who have different points of view. People are more complicated than that and we need to take the time to listen to each other. By all means advocate for justice and what you believe in, but don’t assume because someone thinks differently than you do, that it has to be the end of your relationship. Maybe you can’t agree on some things and you disconnect from that person but don’t generalize and assume everyone who shares a different view than you is a lost soul.
How do we talk to children about getting along with other children and not teasing those who are different than them? We talk with them about cooperation and compromise and empathy. Yet, this is so difficult for adults to do. It’s painful to see what’s happening in our country right now and how people treat each other and worse yet, the ASSUMPTIONS they are making about each other. Take it from me, those assumptions may be wrong and the guy vigorously honking at you as you cross the street may just be trying to help you.