Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Through Someone Else's Eyes

The strap on my normally comfortable shoes had been pressing on my ankle for hours so the last thing I wanted to do was stand in a line trying to check into a hotel. It was after midnight and I’d had a long day. It began early and was spent doing a walking tour of a brand new cruise ship. Following the walking tour, I had a two-hour plane delay that caused me to miss my connecting flight, and thus, I was stuck at a hotel when all I wanted was my bed. I was definitely tired. Right in the middle of that line, with my swollen ankles, I learned a valuable lesson about perspective.

There were about ten people in front me. In order to amuse myself, I was sending text messages to my friends, telling them about my adventures. Just then, the entire lobby of the hotel noticed a woman, with a stroller, on the phone. She said, “There’s no formula at the hotel." That’s when it hit me that the stroller was not simply another piece of luggage—that stroller had a baby in it.

There are many times when we are inconvenienced. I have done quite a bit of traveling so being stuck in a city overnight isn’t new to me. What I hadn’t considered, though, is that as real as my fatigue was and as swollen as my ankles were, someone with my same travel issues had much more serious consequences. I was merely inconvenienced. She had a real concern. I wanted my bed. She wanted to feed her baby.

Seeing her did not make me less tired or make my ankles miraculously feel better, but it did make me a little more grateful. Instead of focusing on my fatigue and my sore ankles, I chose to focus on what really mattered. I was safe, unharmed, and I had a warm place to lay my head.

The next time life doesn’t go exactly as you planned, take a look around. Someone else is going through something more. I don’t mean to minimize discomfort or disappointment, but no one should give discomfort and disappointment more power than they deserve. Acknowledge those feelings and move on. When life doesn’t go as planned we can always find something to be grateful for. Sometimes it only requires us to see our situation through someone else’s eyes.

In case you're wondering, one of the hotel employees went to the store to buy some formula for the baby. I saw the baby this morning before I left and she was fine.

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