An Important Life Lesson I Learned In A 2 Minute Elevator Ride

(NOTE: This is a blog essay by Deirdre Freeman)

I’m a stay at home mama of two, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and a student of life – who studies daily. I believe everyone can be a potential teacher for us.

In fact, I met a teacher the other day in an elevator.

I was with my two year old Noah. Our plan was to caffeinate me before a doctor’s appointment.

There’s a button that opens one of the doors to the cafe.

Noah always likes to push the elevator door button.

I love to give him this power.

Basically, I love the idea of giving Noah that little bit of control, at the highly restricted age of two.

I had his hand, but, this time, he swerved over to hit the button just as a tall, lovely, long haired woman, dressed impeccably in a light pink blouse and black pants was going in through the adjacent door.

The other door was opening when she wasn’t expecting it, and Noah passed in front of her, briefly, not grazing her, but very much startling her.

She whirled around and gave me and Noah a look straight from hell.

It permeated me.

I breathed, apologized softly, and we meandered into the coffee line, ending up right behind her. I caught her eye and told her, honestly from my heart, how I love to give Noah the ability to press that button, so as to give him a little control in his 2 year old life.

She mumbled something to me. “I’m not myself today,” she said.  “Everything is crazy.” I picked up immediately on a frenzied, slightly apologetic tone.

I asked her what was going on. She told me she was on her way to court. I asked if she had to take the stand. She told me probably not, but that it was a big, big deal.

She had tears in her eyes.

Soon tears were in my eyes, too.

“I’ll think of you today,” I said – then faltered a little, “I mean, even though I don’t know you.”  I put my hand over my heart.

She put her hand over her heart, too, thanking me.

It was time for her to order her coffee. We moved on into our separate days.

I confess, once-upon-a-time I might have chalked her up as a (insert expletive) and never had that compassionate exchange – the exchange that left both of us feeling immensely better.

My lesson for the day as a student of life…

Communicate honestly, and try not to immediately judge someone, or their actions. There are often things we could never imagine going on inside of that person. By being lovingly present, we can all learn from even the simplest interactions.

A guest essay by Deirdre Freeman

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