I recently made a true confession.
In as much as I like to consider myself a spiritually-evolving individual, I must admit there is still something that bothers me. I get irritated when people are in my way!
I would like to thank Margaret Pace Park (just down the street from my condo) and my local Publix store for bringing this irritation to my attention. One of my favorite early morning activities is that of walking in the park – usually at a pretty good pace to bless my cardiovascular health. As a weekly excursion, I make my way to the Publix store across Biscayne for groceries.
In both instances, I have noticed that people get in my way. Though I’m certain it’s nothing conscious or intentional, I sometimes wonder if these folks congregate in anticipation of my arrival to determine the best ways they can block my mission of getting exercise and food.
Now, I love children, but have you seen those humongous shopping carts disguised as trucks and automobiles so that happy kids can pretend they are riding up and down each aisle of the store? You put one of those next to a mom who is standing across the aisle from the cart trying to figure out what kind of cereal to buy, and you have a definite road block.
Same is true at the park when a family is leisurely strolling down the sidewalk with their two strollers and three dogs on leashes. Road block – no way to get by without breaking my pace, stepping off the sidewalk, and running the risk of a potentially messy situation given the number of dogs that handle their business there.
Now I won’t elaborate on the conversations that can run through my mind in these frequent encounters, but I will say that I have progressed sufficiently to know that the irritation has nothing to do with them. I’m sure they are thoughtful, well-intentioned people.
The real question is, “What is this irritation telling me about myself?” The answer is that I am defining these situations as antagonistic and I’m taking them personally. Time to practice what I preach.
So I’ve decided to re-define my predicament. Rather than harbor irritation or resentment, I’m asking myself how I might use the situation to become a better, more aware individual. My answer was to use these “roadblocks” as God given opportunities to become a more courteous, cooperative person myself, and to be a little less mission oriented in ways that allow me to slow down and enjoy the journey toward my goal.
I do realize that I’m blessed to have a beautiful park to walk in and a great store in which to shop every week. I realize my petty upsets are nothing in comparison to much greater challenges I have faced in life. But my point is that we are always free to re-interpret anything in our lives that appears to be “in our way.”
We can choose to remember that everything that comes on to the screen of our lives is both a gift from God and an opportunity to grow – from the tiniest to the most tremendous road blocks that seem to stand in the way of our objectives. They are there for a reason. There is an insight, an awakening or maybe even a revelation in their midst. They show up for us – not against us.
Try remembering this the next time somebody or something seems to be standing in the way of your progress. It works!
Rev. Chris Jackson
Unity on the Bay