Our lives are a zero-sum game. We are born with nothing, and we die with nothing and in between, is the give and take that our lives present to us.
The beauty of life is that you never know when life is going to make a deposit to you or take a withdrawal. All we can do is just let it do its thing and trust that our journey will even itself out.
On Good Friday my family and I were involved in a very minor car accident. I had made a reactionary lane change when I saw two police cruisers flying down the oncoming lane. In my haste, I bumped my car on to the other. Very minor damage and thankfully, nobody was hurt.
After the initial shock set in of the mistake that I made sunk in, I did swear a couple of times. By the time I was ready to get out of my car and face the music, I had gathered my wits.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t met with a pleasant reaction.
As soon as I opened my door, I could hear the emotional throws of profanity-laced blame being thrown my way. Everything to “you ruined my entire day!” to “now I can’t go to work, and you are going to have pay for my lost time!” you… you… you… I heard it all, and I took it in stride. After many attempts at assuring him of my guilt and being sorry for the mistake that I had made, I had enough. I met the blame with a very forceful comment that paused the other driver for a moment. “I am so sorry, but I don’t know you. How could I have possibly picked you to ruin your day? I’m just trying to get gas!”.
After a few moments, the other driver calmed down, we exchanged details, and we both went on our way.
Blame can destroy any situation and can quickly escalate into epic battles. Instead of taking the blame personally from this person, I instead listened and found clues to what was being said. Blame was this persons protection mechanism from running late to work. Blame was this person’s method of deflecting the fear of our cars hitting each other. Blame was this person’s way to retaliate from my intrusion into their life.
When life comes and makes a withdrawal from your life, we don’t have the right to blame others for this balancing act. While I could have blamed this driver for speeding behind me, or blame the police cruisers for speeding without their lights on, I didn’t. I realized that life was coming for its payday and there was nothing I can do but accept my fate, realize my costly mistake and try my best to mitigate the stress.
When two worlds collide, you never know if the balance will leave you in the negative or the positive, all you can hope for is that you can learn enough from it so that next time, the negative won’t hurt so much and the positive won’t make me entitled.