Can we choose what we want to be aware of?
Think about that….
is it a choice?
Are we so busy with holding our lives together that we fail to notice others around us? Or that our actions, words or thoughts can have an impact on others?
Have we become a society that is unaware? Why would some make that choice? or, Is it something that all of us do in those times when we feel overwhelmed or stressed?
Recently I returned from a holiday on Vancouver Island. A great time spent with family and enjoying all the beauty that the island has to offer. Fifteen or so minutes into the ferry sailing there was an announcement requesting the help of a doctor if there was one on board, preferably a cardiac physician. That kind of message brings an immediate awareness that a fellow passenger may be in trouble. A quick prayer was sent up that there was a professional on board and that the person would be ok.
Five minutes later the captain announced that the boat would be turning around and sailing back to dock due to a medical emergency. He thanks all for their understanding and gives his best guess as to how long the trip will be delayed. As the big boat turned and sped quickly back to dock that quick prayer becomes something more with wishes that angels surround this person and keep them well until help can be brought to them. I didn’t realize that a ferry could travel at that speed.
Remaining outside on the deck I continued to read, enjoy the scenery and wait as the ambulance met the ferry and the patient was transferred. Soon we were back under sail again. The captain gave several announcements regarding our new expected arrival time, that the engineers were doing all they could to have the boat keep up speed and that, because of the inconvenience they invited all passengers to have free beverages through the remainder of the trip.
Was it an inconvenience? I guess that would depend on how you choose to look at the entire picture. On the one side I was getting home later than planned, would be driving through the rush hour traffic I had hoped to avoid but really, so what. Life is like that and we are forced to go with the flow…we do however, get to choose how we get through the flow. I thought it more important that steps had been taken to care for this person, being late was no big deal.
When I did venture inside my eyes were opened to other choices that can be made. Inside the ship was a crew that were being harassed by really angry and frustrated passengers. Those that felt the ferry should have kept going, kept to schedule because they had places to get to. People who were stressed and caught up in the anger of being inconvenienced and a crew that felt caught in the middle. I listened as one crew member was trying to explain to a passenger that the right decision had been made and that they had word that the heart patient would likely be ok. I didn’t get the impression that the passenger had heard this as their concern appeared to be that they were now late for their flight connection.
I don’t write about this experience as an opportunity to judge others, but more in wondering and thinking about the choices we make in our awareness of others. Life has been giving me a few of these awareness experiences (or lack of) lately. We are probably all a little guilty of feeling overwhelmed when things are not flowing as we would like to and getting caught up in how we are being affected.
BUT what about the other person who is affected by our lack of awareness or concern for their well-being? They are somebody’s parent or child or grandparent or sibling or friend just as we are, and we share this world with them as they do with us. I think perhaps there was no accident that the people who were on that particular boat at that particular time experienced these specific circumstances (myself included).
My prayers go out to the person who was taken by ambulance and I hope that they are ok
My gratitude to the crew on that sailing, they handled things so well
My hope for others is that we choose a path where we maintain an awareness of others in a positive and supportive way.
For myself, I hope to keep an awareness that when life is not happening as I wish it would, that it is less stressful to “go with the flow”!
I ended the day home 2 hours later than planned, but I returned home safe and well. Soon after arriving there was a call from my family to ensure I was ok and that the medical emergency didn’t include me…for their love and care I am grateful.