Sunday, March 13, 2011

People, Trains and Automobiles

   People are a lot like freight trains.
   The other night I had to hurry while driving home from a friend's house in order to make curfew. I was making incredible time…until I reached train tracks. A freight train slowly entered the scene, and I was forced to stop my car in front of the blinking red lights and turn my engine off. I waited. And waited. And didn't stop waiting for what felt like hours. I looked at the train in disgust; to me it was no more than a nuisance.
  As I was staring at the train though, I started to think. In some ways freight trains are much like the people in all our lives. We tend to look at people in context, much like we view the train as an annoyance, but we never think about what people have had to overcome to get to the point that they're at. Similarly, a freight train could have traveled across the entire country to get to the station that they're currently occupying. The fact is that we are looking at the train in the moment, much like we judge our peers in the moment.
  When someone comes across as bothersome, sometimes it's necessary to consider where they've been and what they've gone through to understand why they're acting the way they are. It's a really good habit to get yourself into, because even if someone does aggravate you, you'll find that they're often on the right track.