Stop, Look, & Stay

Schools re-opened in Berlin today, ushering in the new school year. Everywhere I turned there were people with very mixed feelings about this. I lost count of the number of parents at the end of their patience walking ahead of children throwing some tantrum or another. Clearly the first day of school can be just as traumatic for the children as it is for the parents. Then there the groups of young students eager to show off new clothes, make-up, or cool new gadgets acquired over the summer. I couldn’t stop and watch every interesting moment I passed today, otherwise I never would have made it to the office!

Yesterdays reflection on gratitude was still very much on my mind today and I found myself doing exactly that: stop, look, and go. Truth be told, however, I wanted to do the exact opposite, and not go.

I wanted to listen to the ridiculous conversations on the tram and be grateful for people in my life who never carry on such nonsensical theatrics.

I wished I could have stoped one mother from shouting at her little daughter on the bus and be grateful for having survived that stage of motherhood with minimal damage.

I desperately wanted to run into decadent cafe I pass every day on the my way to work and simply soak in the sights, but was grateful for having had cereal in my bowl this morning.

Her work is harder ©FrogDiva Photography

As I stumbled through my door this evening, drained from every ounce of strength, I wanted to kick the clothes rack with the laundry waiting to be folded, or even punch the rice cooker that hadn’t bothered to cook me dinner on its own volition. I wanted to wallow in self-pity, but then I found a photograph and realised that my complaints were petty and insignificant compared to the woman at the public well. She had to wait for the others to leave so she could finish her washing, bathe her child, and still carry home the buckets of water for the family.

There are moments in life when you simply have to stop, look, and stay, because in doing so, you learn the pain of the lesson and understand the depth of the gratitude.

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