Believing our struggles are worse than everyone else’s

Morning commutes are often long and tedious – a direct result of overpopulation and continual construction projects being undertaken on our heavily traveled roadways.

One Friday morning I was running incredibly late, and as you might expect in this situation, highway traffic was at a standstill. My patience was already wearing incredibly thin and it wasn’t even nine o’clock in the morning! To help maintain some sanity, I decided to exit the highway and navigate through back roads and side streets in the hopes of avoiding any more congestion.

Within minutes, I was relieved to again see the needle on my speedometer approaching 35 miles per hour. But it didn’t take long for my morning commute to again come to a screeching halt. This time I found myself stuck behind a tiny yellow school bus – stopped right in the middle of a narrow two-lane road.

At first I was calm, assuming the scheduled pick-up would only take a few minutes at best. And so I patiently waited for a young girl or boy to come running out their front door with a school bag securely strapped to their back and a lunch box in their hands.

But more and more time passed and again I found myself growing angry and anxious as the bus remained idle waiting for its passenger. My mind became flooded with negative thoughts: “They knew the bus was coming, why couldn’t they have been on time?” “Why didn’t the bus pull closer to the curb so I could pass him?”

And just as I was about to pound my hands on the steering wheel, as though the entire scene had been orchestrated perfectly, a young boy in a wheelchair was pushed from his driveway by his mother.

As the bus driver emerged to lower the mechanical lift for the wheel chair, the doting mother adjusted the little boy’s hat and played with his chubby cheeks – which made the little guy who appeared to be no more than three feet tall, laugh and laugh. She then kissed him goodbye before he took the short ride up the lift and then safely into the confines of the bus’ interior.

As the tiny, yellow school bus finally pulled away, I felt overwhelmed with guilt for so many reasons – my severe impatience, my negative and selfish thoughts and my utter disregard for the fact that I was living, walking and breathing with the greatest of ease.

It’s human nature I suppose to assume that our struggles are greater than anyone else’s. But in truth we’re often just too blind to see the bountiful gifts we’ve been afforded – the greatest gifts we could ever truly ask for.

I try and keep that little boy and his family in my thoughts and prayers as a lesson to myself. They obviously endure unenviable circumstances and yet probably have a better understanding of what is truly important in life than you or I do.