I was stuck on a bus last week. It took 45 minutes to get from one bus stop to another at one point. It should have taken about two minutes.
Everyone on the bus was quiet except a man who had some kind of mental illness. He was mumbling to himself incessantly, occasionally speaking a few coherent words together. Every ten minutes of so he'd yell out, 'Why is this bus taking too long, I want to go home, I'm getting very angry.'
I jumped each and every time and seriously worried he might get up and start punching people. It was a stressful ride.
Afterwards, I heard a lot of people complaining about the delays all over the place. I also complained.
Then it dawned on me. The cause of the great delays was an accident on Eastlink between a truck and motorbike. Take a minute to absorb that information. At the time I was sitting on the bus getting frustrated that it was taking such a long time to get to my destination and putting me in the position of being concerned about this man who didn't understand what was happening, there was a motorcyclist most likely lying dead on the tollway. If not dead, he was definitely critically injured. His family would have been distraught. The police, firemen, and ambos were probably also distressed. The driver of the truck, if not physically injured himself, would be traumatised.
Basically, while I was annoyed at being held up, there was a whole group of people have the worst day they could imagine.
It is easy to not think about this. Naturally, humans tend to focus on their own immediate situation. That makes sense because we must preserve our wellbeing to survive and thrive. It is natural that we don't think about something happening out of sight and out of mind.
When and accident is holding you up, inconveniencing you, it pays to keep in mind that is it traumatising someone at the other end of the situation.
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