You know the first time you do something after “that awful thing happened”? For example, the funeral is over and everyone has returned home. It’s time for dinner and realize you have no food, so you have to go to the store. And when you get there you realize this is “the first time since ___ died that I’ve been to grocery store” trip. Everything is like that – the first time I’ve been to the gas station, the first time I got the mail, etc.
Or maybe, it’s after you were let go from your job or your spouse left or your job proposal was rejected. Big or small, surely you know what I’m talking about. It’s that moment when you’re still trying to figure out how to process “this awful thing that happened” and everyone around you is just going about their business – like it’s a normal day.
The thing is, though, it’s not a normal day. Not to you. You’re doing this thing for the first time since “that awful thing happened” and this feels like anything but normal. It’s feels like walking through a fog or maybe even floating a bit. Nothing is grounded or secure.
I wonder what it would be like if we approached every person – the stranger coming toward us down the cereal aisle, the one in the car next to you pumping gas – if we treated each of them as if this was their first time shopping or pumping gas since “that awful thing happened” because it just might be.
Maybe we could all be just a little more gentle with each other. A little more compassionate. A little more understanding. Maybe the outrage about the slow moving check out line has nothing to do with the check out line at all. Maybe the slow driving in the fast lane isn’t about you, but about him and the fog he finds himself in today.
It’s possible that any person you encounter today could be experiencing the first time since…
Be gentle with each other today.