I was walking the dog in a new neighborhood, my teeth gritted because of the traffic noise. The health issues of others heavy on my mind.
Headed onto a pedestrian bridge crossing a busy highway and saw a man ahead of me, staring down at the speeding trucks and cars. Something about his intense focus put my brain on high alert.
Tried to catch his attention with a hello, but his attention was already caught by what was below. The word seemed lost in the roar of the traffic.
In my head I was preparing how to talk him down from whatever dire action he was contemplating. Hoping that my dog would help, or at least not get in the way.
Tried a second time to greet him and to my total surprise he turned his head…
and lit up with a huge genuine smile,
and shared (shouted) how much he was really enjoying watching the traffic.
Whoa. What the heck! It turned out it was he who helped ME back away from the edge – that I wasn’t even aware I was standing on.
Suddenly it was so clear. I needed to stand down. My radar for distress and responsibility needed a major recalibration. It was taking up way too much real estate in my brain.
His innocent pleasure in something that had been completely awful to me a moment before was also a beautiful reminder of how wonderfully amazing our differences can be.
There really is beauty and wonder in all sorts of places; we just have to let ourselves see it.
I took a deep, deep breath and walked on, resolving to not let my radar for distress take over everything.
There’s room for so much more.