A different kind of view

by bkajlich

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” ~thoreau

This weekend I had made an appointment with the phone company to come and fix my line.  This was to be the sixth time in two months that they were coming out to my house, and the second time this week.  I’m not quite sure what the problem is other than my phone doesn’t work and no one seems to know how to fix it.

Drats!

After waiting through an entire 8 hour window only to have  no one show, I was peeved beyond all peeved-ness when the tech finally showed up on the following day as I was trying to get out of the house for an appointment. He took one look at the four dogs and shook his head “Nuh-uh”…”You’re gonna have to put those dogs away or I’m not coming in” he stated in a demanding tone.  “I don’t know where you expect me to put them” came my testy reply. He volleyed back with even more attitude, “ma’am if you don’t secure your animals, then I am leaving immediately… I’ve got a year left before retirement and I’m not risking getting bit.” “WHERE DO YOU SUGGEST I PUT THEM???” I sassed back.  We stood eye to eye, glaring at each other, neither one of us wanting to be the one to back down.  The ridiculousness of the situation suddenly slammed me from the side, and I took a deep breath before releasing all of the anger that had so quickly boiled up and over.  I took a step back and calmly explained to him that I understood it wasn’t his fault, but that I had waited the entire day before only to have no one show, not even a phone call.  I said that I was sorry to take it out on him, but I was just at my wit’s end trying to get something as simple as my phone to work.  I saw him visibly soften and in a quiet voice he said “show me where the phone line connects to the house”.  A half hour later, as he was leaving, he apologized for his earlier behavior and rolled up his sleeve to show me a four inch long scar, where a dog had bitten him at a work site.  I felt terrible, realizing why he had been so adamant that the dogs were put away…. He was scared. The minute I let down my guard, he let down his.  I was so touched by our ability to get past our own anger and frustration and put ourselves in the other’s shoes.

I wonder how many moments there are in life where our need to be right blinds and prevents us from seeing the real truth about a situation.  The more I sit, the more I realize how much hurt and confusion we carry with us on a daily basis simply because we don’t talk to each other from a place of trying to UNDERSTAND one another.  The only possible outcome for most of us is the one in which we win….

If we could only comprehend how much we really lose.

I will never forget the sight of the scar on that man’s arm.  I can’t afford to.  I’d like it to remain in my memory as a reminder that most wounds are invisible to the naked eye. We all have our own war stories, and when we don’t take the time to step into one another’s shoes, we miss an opportunity to widen our hearts and broaden our minds.

Oh, and my phone line still doesn’t work.

And I really don’t care.  xxB