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This past winter it had been snowing a great deal in Denmark. It was piled up everywhere in our neighborhood, and it was hard to get around with a stroller.
One day my daughter and I were on our way home from a play date. We and the stroller got stuck in the snow. I'm sure if I had brought out my inner Hulk I could have gotten us out...but hey, sometimes you just have to throw in the “Please help me” card.
Several people walked by, and no one stopped to help. It was dark, we were cold and I just couldn’t seem to yank it out of there.
We lived in a very colorful part of town, where pushers, sex shops, prostitutes and families live side by side. Anyway...a pusher stopped to help us out. No questions asked, he just stopped, took the stroller and carried it out of the snow. He asked if that was all, I said thank you, and we parted.
Out of all the people on the street I never thought he would stop. Why I wonder? Was it because I thought he was a pusher, and just automatically didn't think any good was there to be found? Was it because I feel very strongly about his line of "work" and therefore he couldn't be capable of doing something nice for someone?
Was I blind to the fact that he was someone I could ask? It doesn't change how I feel about pushing drugs on the street. But I don't know ANYTHING about him or his story. I really don't even know if he is a pusher. He didn’t offer me any crack…I just saw him hang out on that corner. Yet I had put him in a box before he even looked my way. Do we reject kindness because we reject the giver?
Being caught up in all this judgment, and thinking "I know how the world works" happens at other times as well. How many acts of kindness have I missed due to this?
We think we know how our partner will react, what he/she will say, what our kids will be like when they get up in the morning, what our boss will say when we call in sick, and even how we, ourselves, will feel or react to certain events in our lives.
I am sure if we opened our hearts and minds a little, our experiences could change. We could see new sides of others and ourselves. Can the "evil" on the street also be caring? Maybe the boss won't be mad but give you a get well call. Maybe our partner isn't such a pain all the time, and our inner demons become our teachers.
I love the quality of an open mind. Children have it by nature, but it seems to fade as you grow up - for many reasons. But it is there in all of us, and it can, with intention, be present in our lives. It gives us a way of letting go of stuck perceptions and patterns and gives us a fresh start in every moment. We don't really know what will happen next.
Thinking we do and thinking we know what others will do might leave us missing out on the beauty of life - the surprises. The quality of giving ourselves and others a chance to grow and change, because we look for their truth rather than only see our own, is amazing. So thank you “mister on the street that day” for reminding me to stay open.
|Carina Lyall is a story worker, meditation teacher and mother of two girls. She works with women to re-connect to themselves and support them to show up exactly as they are. |
Carina is passionate about the theme of belonging and connection and the impact it can have on us if we don’t feel that in our lives.
She can be found Online and on Facebook