Monday, November 19, 2012
A Shining Moment in the Darkness
This time of year, the weather in Portland is often dark and rainy, like today. The clouds hang low, drivers turn on their headlights in the middle of the day, people buy full spectrum light boxes to chase away winter doldrums.
This morning I was driving in the inside lane of a four lane street. A big red commercial van was slightly ahead on my right in the curb lane. The light was green as we approached an intersection. A pickup truck suddenly turned right from the other street just in front of the van. (Right turns on red are permitted here when safe.) I hit my brakes as the van swerved into my lane and around the truck to avoid plowing into the truck. The accident was averted, and the van and I proceeded with the truck falling in behind me.
As we approached the next intersection, I pulled alongside the van. The driver was waving at me. The light turned yellow and we both stopped. I rolled down my window, and thinking he had mistaken me for the careless driver, I smiled and called out, “It wasn’t me!”
He replied, “I know. I just wanted to thank you for slowing down so that I could go into your lane.” I told him he had done a good job of avoiding the accident and I was glad he was all right. As we conversed, I noticed for the first time the company information on his van. It was a lighting company, advertising various types of lighting they installed. We both cautioned each other to drive safely and went on with our mornings.
As I headed on home, I thought about how he brings light into the darkness for a living. How interesting. And also, he brought light into my dark morning. When I rolled down my window, he could have gone off about crazy drivers and so on. We were both rattled by the incident. But instead, he took the opportunity to thank me for helping him avoid the accident, and we wished each other safe travels. I know I was more alert as I drove home. And also happier because of our brief connection.
My word for the year this year is Shine. As the days shorten and the gray settles in, it seems to me that this is an excellent word for me to focus on in the remaining weeks of this year. I hope that, like this driver, I can bring light into the darkness, of my own life and the lives of others. I hope that my light shines brightly, reminding me that the light is always present and that we all enter the light together.
Has someone brought light into a dark place for you lately?
related posts: What Are You Writing in Your Book?; The Kindness of Strangers