Years ago, I listened to a talk given by Elizabeth Kubler Ross. In one part, she was telling a story about a car accident and one woman who, instead of concentrating on the inconvenience of the traffic jam she was sitting in, spent her time idling thinking about the people in the accident and praying they would be ok. This story had an impact on me and I try to do this whenever I see an accident--I concentrate on sending the people peace, comfort and healing.
Today, however, was different. On my ride to work this morning, there were several cars on the side of the busy road I travel. It looked like an accident involving 3-4 cars. No one looked critically injured but they were shaken. At the time I saw the accident, I was deeply immersed in my morning driving ritual--"Fergalicious" was cranked up and I was pumping myself up for the day with some car dancing and singing at the top of my lungs (thanks to my donor!)
Here's the brutal truth--I just didn't feel like being compassionate this morning. I didn't want to turn down my radio and quit car dancing. I didn't want to alter my happy mood with thoughts of sending out peace and healing. I didn't want to take time out of my current state of being to honor the people struggling by the side of the road. So I didn't. And it felt weird but I kept singing and dancing anyway.
After the light turned green and the accident was far in the distance, my feelings of strangeness dissipated and I was once again fully immersed in my Fergie CD and my morning ritual.
This made me think of a section of "The Power of Two" where Isa is describing a time when she was fighting for her life, barely able to draw the next breath and the nurses in her doorway were talking about a television show.
I imagine what I felt today on my drive to work is similar to how medical professionals must feel sometimes--they know they should be providing emotional as well as physical support but they just don't want to. They'd rather car dance instead.
I now have a new term for this: this is called an emotional drive-by.
I understand it. I just don't want to make a habit of it.