I will never forget an early summer night in May of 2010. I was walking out of Target and suddenly I was honked at by a rude guy in a big truck. Let me go back a little further. That was a bad, bad day. That was the day I found out my husband was dying of cancer and would need immediate surgery to remove it. Which brings me back to why I was at Target. I was there in order to buy some household items we were needing because I knew we would be spending our days at a hospital soon and I wouldn't be able to make it out to run errands. It was one of the worst days of my life. One moment everything was ok and the next nothing made any sense. I remember walking through the Target aisles in a daze. I was in complete shock. I knew I had come there for a purpose but what that purpose was had slipped my mind. I walked around the store aimlessly until I found what I needed and I could leave. As I was walking out the doors it hit me all over again what we were facing. Cue rude guy with a big truck who didn't know any of this, all he knew was I wasn't moving fast enough for his liking, so he honked. The sudden loud noise knocked me out of my trance. I wanted to turn and yell at him "Do you have any idea what kind of news I received today??" My life was falling apart and here he was worried about getting into Target quickly to get garbage bags or some other non-important item. "If only he knew!!!" I thought to myself. Then there was yesterday. A girlfriend and I went out to lunch. My son came along. He chose this day in particular to have the meltdown of all meltdowns. I've never seen him behave this way before. Normally I can redirect his attention fairly quickly and calm him down so I tried, to no avail. It was then I decided to leave my food that had just arrived and take him outside to try and calm him down. Apparently it wasn't fast enough. As I left my girlfriend could hear a table of women to our left talking about me. "Can you believe she wouldn't just take him out sooner?" they gasped in disbelief. "She needs to get her child under control" said another as they all nodded in agreement. "My child never throws fits in public like that" was the last two cents they added in. All they saw was a Mom who didn't respond how they wanted and a child who didn't behave according to their standards. What they didn't know? That I'm someone who recently lost a husband. That I'm a new single parent just trying to take a friend out for a Christmas lunch. That our world has been in complete disarray since this past summer and we are both trying to find a way to do the things that we used to do, back when it was much easier to do it.
Patience is a virtue and it is one that I sometimes lack. I always want to get there and get there fast. I am not a stop and "smell the roses" person like some are. Yet every time it is me on the receiving end of others impatience it teaches me something. It teaches me to be kind to others. You never know what their life circumstances are. You never know if the terrible waitress is a single Mom, first day on the job, trying to provide for her family. You never know if the person who cut you off in the car is racing to get home to a family emergency. And you never know if a bleary eyed girl walking out of Target just found out her husband has cancer. We just don't know. We think we know it all but we rarely do. You never know what someone else is facing. So how about we try to be be understanding instead of so quick to judge. Let's try to believe the best in others instead of assuming the worst. Let's try to let love rule. When you react first in love you will never regret it later. You also won't end up being the big rude guy honking in the truck. Although...I wonder what his day was like?