A Blessing In Disguise
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers
My life has shown me that most people care about others and are natural helpers. For instance, last summer I was looking to hurry across the street at a mid-block crosswalk and beat the oncoming traffic (led by a bus) so I would be on time for an appointment. Cutting corners, I ran around a large, triangular flower box made of concrete that had been installed by the city.
Looking toward the traffic to judge its speed, I did not see how far the tip of this structure jutted out. While the rest of me dodged around it, the toe of my shoe caught on the tip where it met the sidewalk and I went down like a tree. I landed with my knees and elbows scraped, my head hovering a couple of inches above the curb, and my hands in the gutter.
I will tell you that it gave me pause to see the bus bearing down toward me from that perspective. I pulled my hands out of the gutter and felt the rush of air as the bus roared past. My thought was: “What was I thinking to chance running in front of that?”
All three people who were passing that spot, when I went down, hurried to me. One was a business man in a suit, another was a young woman, and the third was a woman, perhaps, in her forties.
Their faces were full of concern. Any one of them would have taken my arm and helped me get someplace to sit down, had I asked. The last one to leave hesitated before going, asking one more time if I was sure I would be alright.
That fall reminded me about many things, including that it is best to slow down, stay in the present moment, and be aware of what I’m doing. It reminded me – quite viscerally – of what is at risk when we take a chance and dart across the street when traffic is coming. It also reminded me that I still have work to do here, or I would not be so protected from my human folly.
But, most of all, it reminded me that love is all around us.
BTW, that oddly shaped structure disappeared after I told a friend of mine who worked for the city about my experience.
Admittedly, it had the potential to be just a little bit dangerous for those not paying attention. Yet I wonder, sometimes, if it didn’t save me from being hit by a bus. Blessings do, after all, come in disguises.