Can Peace Be This Easy?

June 4, 2010

The other day I made a left turn on a green arrow that turned orange before I got through the intersection. Apparently I slowed down the driver of a black pickup truck coming from the opposite direction. I’d barely cleared the intersection when he turned behind me, crowded crowded my bumper, and blared his horn to make sure I knew that I was in his way.

In the old days, I’d have been angry. I’d have told myself stories about how rude and angry this guy was. But I’ve been practicing letting go of the way people and things are supposed to be, so I was actually just surprised. How could the driver be so frustrated about having to slow down for a second or two?

After I’d completed my turn, I stayed in the right lane, accelerating at a normal rate to merge into freeway traffic while the truck flew around me on the left. As it passed, I put my left hand up to the side window, my fingers in the V for peace. I glanced over and was surprised to see the passenger’s right hand at his window, returning my peace sign.

I’d like to think this made a difference to the passenger, maybe even to the driver. I know it did to me. Can it be as easy as changing our stories to break through barriers of impatience and disregard for other people?