Bearing another’s burdens
While waiting for an appointment the other day, I picked up the May 2016 issue of O Magazine and read a brief article by author Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame in which she relayed her experience riding a cross town bus in New York City – a bus filled with sweaty, disgruntled, rude, and combative passengers. It was the end of the business day for most and from Ms. Gilbert’s perspective, it appeared that every one of them – her included – had had a shitty day. Add to that, the weather was less than accommodating.
The bus driver got on the intercom and announced (I’m paraphrasing here):
I know you’ve all had a lousy day for one reason or another. You’re either upset about something that happened to you today or by what’s currently going on in your lives.
This is what I’d like you to do. When it comes to your bus stop, I’ll hold out my hand and I want all of you to drop your troubles in my hand as you exit the bus. When I get to the Brooklyn Bridge, I’m going to toss all of your troubles out my window.
Will you do that for me?
You can imagine the mixture of mumbling and giggling that ensued after that announcement but at the very first stop, the disembarking passengers symbolically dropped their troubles into the driver’s out-stretched hand.
And then every passenger did the same at each stop along the route.
What a wonderful gift that driver gave to all the perfect strangers that rode his bus that afternoon, a gift that cost him nothing but benefitted so many.
Every day, in so many ways, you and I have the ability to lighten another person’s load.
How will you do so today?