Last week a weird thing happened to me that was unsettling. I was driving home from my mother’s at dusk and didn’t notice my headlights weren’t on. Well, someone else did.
A man banged on my driver's side window while I was stopped at a red light to ask me when I was “going to put your damn lights on or are you just f**king stupid?” Really, it happened. He took the time to get out of his pickup truck, bang angrily on my window and yell at me, not to warn me of a safety issue that affected me and others. No good Samaritan stuff going on here. Just rage.
It startled me in the moment, but more importantly, it made me sad. My thoughts are this wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. A person might have flashed their lights at you in an attempt to get your attention. And that would probably have been enough for me to recognize that I didn’t have the lights on.
Now people think they must hit you over the head to get your notice – and maybe they are right. We are all in our own private dramas. And that is too bad.
And it seems as if everyone has such a short fuse lately. People quickly get into altercations lately over trivial matters, like parking spaces, food items, and Covid tests. No one seems to have patience or is able or willing to “see” the other person. And that is too bad.
And, in the health and wellness space (especially on social media), we also see many divergent opinions, some dangerous and some just downright silly, that continue to fuel family arguments, division in the workplace and misinformation all around. Again, bad.
And that is dangerous for all of us. That’s why I am so glad we are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day tomorrow. It is just in time.
This third Monday in January celebrates a man who’s legacy was one of service in the fight against racism and inequality. Although his birthday is January 15, tomorrow we honor him and his efforts through a day of service, the only federal holiday that is celebrated in this way.
It’s really been cold these last few days and with the snow anticipated in the next half hour or so, my thoughts went to three disparate, yet connected places, in relation to the MLK celebration:
Food – I am roasting a turkey breast and was thinking about all of the wonderful soups, casseroles and one-pot meals you can make (and look forward to enjoying) this time of year. I will share some of these later this week, so be on the lookout.
Which led me to remember the Burlington County Library in Westampton will be a drop off site tomorrow for a number of food drives to support Oaks Integrated Care Food Pantry, the Operation Yellow Ribbon and the Burlington County Animal Shelter during the hours of 10am-3pm.
Warmth – this has been top of mind this weekend when it has been so cold and we know there are homeless people out there in this weather. There is currently a Code Blue in effect right now through Monday night. St. Andrews, an Episcopal church in town, has a Code Blue sock drive, as I am sure many places of worship do, and I will be dropping off socks for the homeless there tomorrow.
Gratitude – I am so fortunate to be able to have a warm place to live and enough to eat. Each morning I start my day with a meditation and then I write in my gratitude journal. I must confess I had been slacking off here and there over the few months and I think it impacted me. I wasn’t feeling as grateful as I could and was going down the “rabbit hole” of anger and impatience.
Which I think fueled my “traffic cop’s” behavior last week. His outrage was my wakeup call. To remind me that I have much to feel grateful for and appreciate every single day. Even though in these Covid-times, it feels like Groundhog Day. Even though we still aren’t out of the woods and need to continue to be diligent. And smart, and considerate and loving towards everyone. Even the guy pounding on your window.
Yes, it came just in time. Thank you, MLK Jr. for reminding all of us how best to behave towards each other in this world. Let’s all make the most of it tomorrow and rise to the occasion.