Time is a precious thing. So, there is nothing more annoying than when someone wastes your time, right? Especially when, if someone could have just taken the time to take a step back and review the situation before rushing to you for help from their self-created problem, the whole thing could have been avoided to begin with. There really is nothing more annoying. Especially, when that person is... me!
Last week, I went to the library to pick up some books on reserve. I was anticipating a book that I have been waiting for since January, but was alarmed to find it was not on the shelf with my other books. Long story short: I wasted 15 minutes of someone else's time hunting for a book that I was carrying in my arms the whole time (it was rubber banded behind another book)! I wasted 15 minutes of my own time too, but I felt worse about involving an innocent person in my cruel wild goose chase. Especially, since she was trying so hard to help me. The Help Desk Lady was visibly annoyed. Even though I sincerely apologized, I know how this lady felt towards me. I have worked with "the public". I hated being in the role of that person. In the history of my life, I know this is an isolated incident. But, in her mind, I know I was labeled as a "Helpless Time Waster", "Airhead", or "Something Worse".
As I thought about my mistake in the car, the words from a hymn ran through my mind, "Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?" I find comfort in the fact that moments like this are inevitable for everyone. Somewhere down the road Help Desk Lady will find herself in a similar circumstance, and perhaps she will hope for understanding. I think it's moments like this that keep us feeling human and allow us the opportunity to act with compassion and understanding when we, ourselves, are faced with someone that has mistakenly ruined our day. I'm not saying that it's easy, or our first reaction, but if we can see ourselves in others it just might change our perspective on things.