February 21, 2017

How the Simplest Encounters can Wake us Up.


I was sitting on the bus listening to an audiobook about how to live in the present moment this morning. A guy got in, who I’ve seen before wearing a fedora hat and fingerless gloves (judgment arising) and seems to act fairly brusquely (judgment arisen) when he rides the bus.

The bus was pretty packed and he had to stand…next to me. He turned and whacked me with his bag. (Okay, he actually probably barely brushed me.)

I spent two seconds in a self-righteous, angry story about how he’s a jerk, and doesn’t care what he’s doing, confirming my story about him—as I was still listening to how to be “in the moment.”

He turned around and gave me a gigantic smile and apologized, completely disarming me.

The person sitting next to me got up and Fedora Hat, No-Finger Glove Guy sat next to me.

I tapped him on the shoulder and told him the story of what I was thinking and the impact his smile and apology had. We had a big laugh about it and he told me he works on exactly these kinds of issues personally and professionally.

He told me that like me, he struggles with this. We figured out in short order that on so many levels we were the same.

I put my headphones back on, but after a minute took them off and put out my hand and said:

“My name is Tim, what’s yours?”

He said, “My name is Tim.”

I’ve told this story dozens of times since it happened last week and I’m astonished how much it brings up.

What does it bring up for you?

Here are a few for me:

First, we love stories.

I didn’t realize this simple story’s impact until I told it. We don’t need a story of struggle and survival to remind us what’s important. I’m going to start telling my stories more often. I would have carried some residue of that all day had I not said something.

Second, I want to take more risks.

I’ve ridden that bus hundreds of times, but that day I decided to take a risk and…talk to someone (yikes!) and then doubled-down and actually told them what I was thinking. If someone tells me their story, I’ve learned from Other Tim to listen and find common ground.

Had I judged the book by the cover, it wouldn’t have happened.

Third, we are one. (I mean, come on, the guy’s name was Tim!)

I need reminders that we are one. About a year ago, I needed a new car and the first car I saw was a Prius. The moment I started thinking Prius, all I saw on the road were Priuses (or is it Prii?).

That’s how my version of God works. My God reminds me to open my eyes and see that we are one in strange ways.

Author’s Note: I’m promoting connection, not the Prius, although both of mine feel great. 




Author: Tim Taylor

Image: Courtesy of Author, Steve Hammond

Editor: Travis May

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