Standing tall and looking proud

Drove downtown early morning to get my fingerprints done for the Orlando Diocese volunteer program. I had an appointment and was already late finding the office. I parked my car on a rush and walked to the office but no one was there, I looked around and the place seemed empty. After about 40 minutes I followed a person to an adjacent building and there I found the place I was looking for so long. I was out in less than 10 minutes. When I reached my car I found an unpleasant surprise on the windshield, a parking ticket. I was furious in fact I lost it for a minute ranting and yelling but nobody was there listening. I blamed the person who gave me the ticket; I even tried to find him or her so that person can hear what I have to say. Oh yes I did! I was mad for not being able to find the place, the lack of proper signs, I even blamed God. After all, I was doing a good deed volunteering for my church community and I get a parking ticket? Come on, give me a break! I lost it and really thought it was going to ruin my day. Less than 10 minutes later I was calmed, in silent and at peace. I took a series of deep breaths and calmed down. This unfortunate event was not going to ruin my day, I won’t let it happened. After my mind was calmed, I realize that I contributed to what happened to me from the beginning. The zone I parked had parking meters which I completely overlooked and misunderstood the parking sign that read “2 Hour maximum”. So there I have it, in plain proof that I triggered this whole thing. Then I reflected on the outcome of my behavior. Shame on me again; I let myself be the victim of the circumstances. It was my entire fault after all; the meter guy was doing his job, that’s all. Of course I rather not have to pay the fine but there it was a lesson learned, rant closed and back to my old self.

I had another stop at the VA office for my regular check- up. As I walked to the building, my throat still sore from all the yelling earlier, I experienced a sense of stillness, tranquility and awareness of my surroundings that stopped me dead on my track. The sun was rising up painting the landscape of beautiful colors; birds were chirping, cool breeze on my face. What a beautiful morning! And I am glad that I can live it in the now!  Inside of the clinic it was full swing as usual, occupied by veterans of every branch. Everyone in the waiting room has a story to tell. Pride and honor is all I saw around me. Contrary to popular opinion, I was lucky to be where I was at that moment. For some the clinic can be a depressing place to be with people needing care from left to right. However, being surrounded by people made me feel appreciative of life and people. I stood up at the back of the room like a sentinel overlooking the veterans, battle worn but with pride in their bearing. To my right I heard a grunt and I saw an old veteran trying to stand up to his walker. He tried and grunted but his knees couldn’t hold his weight. After a few minutes he mumbled something and I looked to help him. It took two of us to get him on his feet but he thank us and kept on walking slowly, standing taller and looking proud.

What a lesson I thought. Here I was complaining about petty things happening to me and here is this veteran who can barely walk yet he continues on, moving forward despite of his physical problems. He chose to move on and not be a victim of his own circumstances. Thank you God for this lesson! I certainly would have missed this lesson if I had let the unfortunate event that happened earlier in the morning to control me. I appreciated every minute from that point forward. To my surprise people reacted accordingly to my behavior greeting me and being cordial on my way out of the clinic. I walked out with a different spring on my stride, standing tall with a smile and looking proud of myself and all that surrounded me.