Turning the Momentum around

(kids crossing the street to go to school mentioned)

I was pretty chagrined yesterday to be involved in an incident that bothered me all morning and part of the afternoon.  I guess thinking about resilience doesn’t mean becoming resilient, hey presto!

Not far from my house there’s a place where crossing guards help the schoolkids cross the streets.  It’s a busy intersection with stop signs, and the guards do a great job.  As usual for me, I stopped quite a bit back from where the kids walk.  When there were no kids in my path, I edged forward.  I like to stop far back and then move forwards, wait until everyone is out of the intersection, and then go.  So I had no intention of moving until everyone was clear.

The crossing guard must have seen me start to move and assumed that I was going to go through before everyone was clear.  He started yelling and gesturing with his stop sign and making a big scene.  Which is actually good, if I were planning to go through.  I mean, he was being very protective of the kids in his charge.  I was stunned and disbelieving, though, since I had already stopped the van and it took me a few moments to realize he was yelling at me!

Anyway the time came for traffic to move again and I went on about my morning.  But this incident just kept nagging at me.  I went through all kinds of different scenarios, imagining different conversations with this guy, explaining everything to him in my head.  I just couldn’t let go of it.  I’m really not sure why.  It could be because I have a thing about looking stupid –  I really, really  dislike that.  Anyway it got me very frustrated because I wasn’t bouncing back, or being “resilient” in this situation, now was I?

An absorbing part of my life lately is learning an approach to meditation and prayer based on the Spiritual Exercise of Ignatius of Loyola.  It is based on the Bible and a Christian faith, but also borrows many aspects from other faiths where meditation has been practised for much longer.  Anyway I eventually realized (yes I’m a bit slow sometimes) that perhaps I should take a few minutes to pray/meditate about this, since it was obviously giving me no peace.  The idea of calling the town to tell them how caring and protective this crossing guard is came into my mind.

So, that’s exactly what I did – looked up the number to call, phoned the contact person, and described the situation with my compliments for the crossing guard’s obvious care of the kids and dedication to keeping them safe.  It felt great and allowed me to release all the yucky feelings I’d been carrying around all day.  The contact person told me she much more often gets complaints and next week is their appreciation night, so my call was coming at a good time.  Also, that they’ve had a lot of problems with that intersection, which may be why the guard was so quick to assume I was an ignoramus.

After having this minor incident affect pretty much everything about my day, it felt great to be able to release it and let it go.  It also felt very ironic, to be blogging about resilience only to hit a wall where resilience seemed beyond my reach.

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13 thoughts on “Turning the Momentum around

  1. I LOVE the way you handled this! What a great way to take negative energy, convert it into something positive and put it back out there. I am not a new agey person but this is the best way I can explain it. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while. Lovely!

  2. DC says:

    I love this story! You directed your energy in such a positive way. I’m sure your good feedback / compliments will mean a lot to that crossing guard.

  3. loribeth61 says:

    I agree!! I’m betting that crossing guard will not be expecting to get a compliment, & least of all from you! I love your attitude!

  4. Alicia says:

    So cool that you called and let them know about the crossing guard! What a nice girl you are.

    here from NaCOmLEavMO

  5. Hope says:

    What an awesome way to turn the negativity into something positive. I make a point to give at least one compliment a month to either a waitress or clerk or whoever. I know when I worked in the hospital getting praise from the patients and their families was almost better than a raise! (almost 🙂 )

  6. Kim says:

    Great attitude! Compliments are much appreciated by most!

  7. SAHW says:

    What an awesome way to deal with the situation! That was a great way to get it off your shoulders and do something nice too! I’m sure he will appreciate it.

  8. M says:

    That’s completely awesome!!! How great is that of you to take such a negative thing, and turn it into a great regard for that crossing guard, who was so concerned about the children!

  9. Amy says:

    Ooh, I read this and I was ashamed. I never handle things this way. With my fierce temper, I’m the one who calls up irate and complains to whoever has the misfortune of picking up the phone–although I try to control it! I love your idea–you’ve inspired me today, Andie.

  10. DC says:

    Any word on whether the crossing guard was honored at Appreciation Night?

  11. babyamore says:

    wow – powerful post and I am in awe of you for your resilence and the way you handled it a negative moment and made it positive.

  12. babyamore says:

    Hi here from NCLM
    thanks for visiting me
    I am interested in how you go about patching your son -we were supposed to start last month but they said to wait till July’s appointment.

    My Little Drummer boys

  13. Andie says:

    Thank you all so much for your comments! I don’t know if the crossing guard was specially honoured at appreciation night or not, but the person I spoke to mentioned it. Maybe sometime I will get a chance to speak to him in person. I felt badly at upsetting him so much, but also very defensive that he took a fit on me.

    What I found so interesting about this experience, was how me thinking and worrying and imagining it over and over did not seem to help me get out of it. It was when I was able to “let it go” that things changed. That somehow introduced calm and then this other solution popped in. I tend to be an obsessive kind of person so letting go is really hard for me.

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