I was behind a couple of cars the other day on the two-lane road that leads out of my neighborhood. We were stopped at an unusual spot for the time of day, and it was hard to tell why we weren’t moving.
I’d been sitting there about 15 seconds when someone behind me honked. Just then, an older woman using the crosswalk came into view, making her way across the road with a walker. Suddenly we knew—we had stopped so this woman could safely cross the street.
The driver who honked didn’t know we had stopped for the older woman. But he did have other information; namely, that the drivers in front of them were waiting for something. They hadn’t suddenly decided to quit moving their cars; something had occurred that became a priority.
The not-knowing makes us feel powerless, so sometimes we act out in anger or irritation. What would it look like to acknowledge, instead, what we do know? “Well, we must have stopped for a reason, so I’ll chill out until we can move”?
We only ever know a tiny piece of the picture. Suspending our irritation and leaning into curiosity until we learn more is a great practice.