When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Small Grain of Sand

Tonight, I was watching the news as they talked about the problem of road rage in the metro area.  There are so many people who, when they get behind the wheel of a car, become someone totally different than they are on a normal basis.  As I listened to the report of yet another shooting due to people cutting each other off, making gestures, trying to ram the other car, and even going so far as to follow a driver home, I am finding it hard to understand how anger can become more important than your personal safety.  
What makes people believe that they are invincible and always right when they jump into the driver's seat?  Last I checked, none of us drive correctly 100% of the time (don't tell my kids!).  We all make mistakes.  I guess, I don't understand how normally rational people become Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when they get behind the wheel.  
One of the scariest instances of this that happened in my life was when my family was driving with my sister on the freeway.  I truly don't remember what we did when we were driving, but my sister waved the "I love you" sign language sign as a way of telling the driver that we were sorry.  
That driver bumped into the back of our car when we were stopped and then took off.  We had six or seven little kids in the car with us, and it could totally have been disastrous.  No one was hurt, but I learned a lesson I have never forgotten.  
People don't always know or understand what your intentions are.  They become "all right" and "all knowing" when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.  You really can't trust any other driver's behavior.  So now, I go out of my way to try and not offend other drivers.  I have had too many experiences that have been too close for comfort.    
As the news was reporting on this today, I thought of a poem that is one of the first I ever memorized.  

The Oyster

There once was an oyster whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand had got into his shell.
It was only a grain but it gave him great pain,
For oysters have feelings although they're so plain.
Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him to such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government, cry for election,
And claim that the sea should have given him protection?

No--He said to himself as he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it, I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled around,
as the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate destiny--stew.

And the small grain of sand that had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral;
For isn't it grand what an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand.

What couldn't we do
If we'd only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.

~ David Cohen ~

So, my point today is simply this, we can't change or decide how anyone else is going to act.  We can't fix those things that we are not responsible for.  All we can do is take care of our own actions and reactions.  I can't change the fact that drivers get mad at me, but I can change my actions that encourage that type of behavior.  I don't have to behave badly back.  I don't have to get angry or upset at the behavior of others.  I can  make my own pearls out of the sand that life gives me.
This is hard!  But I think it is possible.  I am the only one that can change the way that I react.  It is completely within my control. 

"Don't spend your precious time asking, 
"Why isn't the world a better place?"  
It will only be time wasted.  
The question to ask is rather 
"How can I make it better?"  
To that, there is an answer."  Leo Buscaglia


  1. The world is becoming more chaotic and unsure and angry and resentful. With the economy down, finances put a strain on any existing problems that were already lurking. Lots of frustrated people out there. And commuting tends to turn even saints into someone less than who they are. Maybe being trapped behind a wheel, sandwiched between so many other cars, brings other trapped and angry feelings close to the surface. I avoided commuting at all costs. Just not worth it.

  2. I LOVE this! That's a great poem. I'll have to remember that one for sure.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the beautiful blanket. It is GORGEOUS!!

  3. You always find the most encouraging poems and quotes . . .