A June 18, 2013 article posted to The Denver Channel webpage featured a tragic piece describing how a road painting crew had literally painted a white road strip over a dead cat. It seemed to me to be a great metaphor for the human journey for we’ve all had times when we felt as if we’d been run over by life itself. Later adding insult to injury someone comes along painting over us as if we didn’t exist or matter.
For those of you who are curious, the picture can be found at: http://media.thedenverchannel.com/photo/2013/06/18/road-crew-cat_1371565475709_430966_ver1.0_640_480.jpg
Recall the phrase “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.” Life can be like that. Most of the time we hit bumps and get bruised along the way. Disappointments, challenges, and simple mistakes are like scrapes and minor cuts along life’s path. But every so often we make really big mistakes that alter our life or when it feels as if others have thrown us into oncoming traffic. Most of the time, it happens because we’ve been mindlessly going along and not paying attention to the road ahead. It’s then that we step into the path of a big truck and find ourselves in critical condition lying in the ditch. For those fortunate to have loved ones and close friends, they are usually the ones to run to our aid, help stem the bleeding, and stand by our side through the long road of rehabilitation and recovery. Others are less fortunate and find themselves left alone on the shoulder of the road to suffer.
We all make mistakes – some far worse than others. It can sometimes feel like we’ve been abandoned and left for dead. Adding further pain, someone occasionally comes along and mindlessly (or even intentionally) paints over our emotional corpse. There’s no doubt had we not wandered into danger, we wouldn’t have gotten hit in the first place. But once the damage is done, it hurts even more when someone paints over you as if you didn’t exist. The old phrase “don’t kick a man when they’re down” describes it perfectly. We’ve all seen stories of someone who’s wandered into traffic, gets struck, then others continue to drive by as if nothing happened. We think to ourselves, how inhumane and insensitive were the drivers who left this person in the middle of the road. Tragically, the injured person sometimes gets hit again as drivers mindlessly go on their way. We wonder what would possess others to simply ignore a person in need. Yet this often happens when mistakes result in severe emotional injury. We are all so self-absorbed in our own lives and the crap we’re personally dealing with that we ignore someone in deep need of our help.
Consequences and pain are an invaluable component of the human journey. None of us enjoys it, but we learn and move on with our lives wiser and hopefully determined not to wander into traffic again . Physical and emotional pain has much in common. As a child, you may have learned not to touch a hot stove by getting burned. The body reacts to things that can cause damage and harm in ways that trains us to avoid the danger in the future. Emotional pain functions the same way. You figuratively wander into oncoming traffic, get struck, and realize how stupid that was. It’s at this point though you hope those that care about you will pull over and help, but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, someone comes along behind you and simply paints right over you.
Chances are, the cat in this story didn’t survive the initial collision. Yet it suffered the indignity of others simply ignoring it. We have an obligation as a member of the human race to pull over when we see someone injured and attend to their health and safety. Some administer first aid and others are there to help pick up the pieces and work through recovery. It goes both ways. Sometimes we are the ones who stepped into traffic and need the love and concern of others to help save us. Other times, it is we who are called upon to attend to the needs of someone else. The human journey is filled with obstacles. We don’t always make wise decisions. There is always time later to reflect upon the error of your ways when someone stepped into traffic; those are lessons we each need to learn. Yet the moment of deep pain lying by the side of the road profusely bleeding is not the time to blame someone for having been so mindless. The value of every human life demands we stop, render aid, and help the injured recover. Over time and after healing there will be opportunities to reflect upon the mistakes made and hopefully learn life’s lessons not repeat them.
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