Photo by Sonja Langford
Driving through downtown Philadelphia during rush hour is something I hadn’t experienced until last Friday. Cars inching forward in a straight line while bikers weaved in and out of traffic made for an interesting juxtaposition. Normally driving in the city is something that I dread. But with my destination programmed into Google Maps I just did what the nice lady told me. That was until the battery on my phone died.
Unfortunately, I have a very poor memory and to be quite honest I could not remember the name of the hotel where I was to stay. I had only punched in the address and my wife made the reservations so I honestly did not know where I was going. Luckily for me I had a phone charger in the car. But how long would it take to charge? I seem to remember being only about half a mile from the hotel when the nice lady abruptly stopped speaking to me.
At this point the only thing I could do was wait. Luckily for me I had no other choice. Normally rush hour traffic would irritate me. But now I was rooting for it. The slower I went and the longer it took to move forward, the more time my phone had to charge. Within five minutes my phone had enough charge to turn back on and the nice lady was once again my friend.
I arrived safely within the five minutes of my phone turning back on. And what could have been a chaotic event turned into a serendipitous event that I would be able to use in my presentation the next day. I was presenting on blogging and one of my objectives was to have participants break off into groups to discuss a random topic.
I had found my topic. The picture of the clock above was projected on the screen and groups were to discuss times in their lives when waiting had proven to be beneficial. The discussions were great. I have to admit putting a random photo up and having groups interpret it was not my idea. My good Voxer buddy Brad Gustafson gave me this suggestion on the drive up. And it worked! Below is what they cam up with.
Photo of woman sitting by Chris Sardegna
Photo of Albert Einstein statue and kids taken by Gwen Pescatore
Photo of woman standing on cliff taken by Julia Caesar
Mistakes Can Be Avoided
Each and every one of us gets behind in our lives at some point. And we have to rush. And this often results in mistakes. When we don’t push send or publish right away we oftentimes are able to find mistakes that we had not noticed before. One person shared that they were tasked with taking a smiling selfie to share with hundreds of new teachers. She took what she thought would have been the perfect picture of herself, but luckily did not send it right away. since she is a media specialist decided to take the photo in front of a poster for the book The Book Thief. Luckily she looked at the photo one last time before pushing send because the only portion of the poster that was visible was the swastika symbol which was right behind her smiling head. Waiting before sending allowed her to pick up on what would have been an embarrassing mistake.
Become More Present & In The Moment
Life is very fast and with technology changing every day, it is only going to get faster. Sometimes when we are unexpectedly forced to wait, we are able to fully digest a moment. Instead of having to swallow it whole. This often allows us to appreciate and be present in moments that use to be just a blur. It is scary to think of how much we miss when we are in a hurry. Waiting can now be seen as an opportunity and not an inconvenience.
Time To Reflect
There are times in life when we must respond to situations immediately with little to no thought. We just react. Most situations in life do not require immediate responses and yet we treat them as such. A colleague comes to you with a question. You respond with the first thought that comes to your head because you want to appear competent. On the other hand, if you had simply waited a bit, and reflected on the situation, you might just find that your response and your reaction would have been better.
Others Reach Out
Waiting isn’t always bad, but sometimes it can be annoying. Waiting in lines is something that causes many of us to become irritated. But others sometimes notice this. And they reach out to us to make our unwanted idle time more enjoyable. One person recalled a time when he was forced to wait in a long line for a phone release and a nearby Starbucks came out and brought everyone free coffee. Smart marketing idea? Yes. But also a kind and unexpected gesture.
Sometimes You Get Lucky
Sometimes in life we just get lucky. I am not superstitious and I do not carry a rabbit’s foot in my pocket. But I do believe that sometimes good things happen to us for reasons that are beyond our comprehension. My final example was sent to me be someone who had just been to Washington DC with her kids. Her youngest son wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial before heading home, despite the fact that he had already seen it numerous times before. This mom decided to wait, and promised that if she could find a parking spot that they could see the Lincoln Memorial. It just so happened that she was able to find the perfect parking spot. Right in front of the Albert Einstein Memorial, something they had never seen before. Her kids loved it, as you can tell from the picture above. Later she realized that if she had rushed out-of-town, instead of waiting, they never would have had the experience of enjoying this beautiful sculpture.
I learned much during that hour I got to spend with 18 amazing educators. They shared of themselves openly and without hesitation. Just a few days ago I wrote about the spirit of the people in that room. I have never before written a piece that involved contributions from so many great minds. But now I have. And this experience was definitely worth the wait.
Photos taken by Jon Harper & collage created with Pic Stitch
“The smartest person in the room is the room itself.”