Two things happened this week. Actually, many things happened this week but my reactions to two prompted some interesting insight.
I love insight! Usually.
The first thing happened at work. A person made a mistake that impacted me in a significant way.
The second thing happened on my bike ride to work.
There is a bike path/bike lanes all the way to campus and so I have been driving halfway, and biking the rest. It means about 28 miles round trip on the bike, which sounds like a lot but is actually not all that much on a bike and I LOVE riding — plus I am saving on gas, getting my exercise, don’t have to buy a parking permit, spending less at Starbucks, and can feel smug and self-righteous about those things. A total winning situation.
Anyway, I was happily pedaling along in the right of way across an intersection when a car cut me off, forcing me to slam on the brakes to avoid crashing into him.
I rode on around him, thinking indignant thoughts.
Then the car came along side of me. The driver rolled down his window and yelled, "I’m sorry!”
I went from being seriously annoyed to amazed at the power of those words. In fact, I mused about it all the way to work — obviously I still am.
The contrast with the work situation was stark.
Making a mistake means that we are still a human being on this earth. It is evidence that we have not actually died and gone to the Great Beyond, just in case there was any question about that.
Therefore, it is a wee bit puzzling to me when attacks — not sincere apologies — are the response to noting evidence of human imperfection.
The driver of that car almost ran me over — and yet, he made my whole day better.
Other people respond to their mistakes by attacking — as if I am somehow at fault for noting that it is wrong to cheat at a dog show or to point out an error that impacts MY paycheck.
People are so interesting. And educational. Including me.
Why do I continue to be so surprised and hurt when people blow up at me for pointing out an obvious mistake THEY made?
Not everyone has the whatever it takes to own a mistake and invite Grace. I should know that. But I just keep expecting that they do, and then I am hurt and disappointed when they don’t. Clearly, I am still human.
I think we should strive to be more like that driver — well, except the part where he almost ran me over in an intersection. He made a mistake, owned it, apologized, and now I wish we could be friends because he is clearly an awesome human being.
Isn’t Life — and the humans who live it — so interesting?