The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

By Michael Armijo

   While at the ATM drive-through, a woman straddled both lanes in a two-lane isle.  I’ve been there a thousand times and not one person has ever straddled these lanes, they just pick one.  Sometimes the line moves quickly, other times you have to wait while the cars next to you move right through.  It’s a gamble, but we make a decision and we accept it. 

   Maybe it was the long day or maybe I just felt short-tempered, but while the woman straddled the lanes, I went around her car, and I picked the left lane.  She got out of her vehicle and told me; “I’ve been waiting, you can’t go around me.”  I explained the unwritten policy of the drive-through ATM machine.  She angrily got back into her car and waited again.  As I drove up to the machine, I felt so uncomfortable.  I knew she never should’ve sat there and straddled both lanes, but who am I to react to her misdirection?  The uncomfortable feeling made me sick inside, I knew that I never should’ve gone around her.  So I backed up, allowed her to go first, calling out to her; “I’m sorry, go ahead of me.”  She pulled up to the machine, finished her transaction, and her last words were; “Thank you for being fair.”

I believe the true essence of being a complete individual begins with the ability to communicate.  The ability to express yourself and present issues, views, and concerns in a dignified, fair, and an understandable manner.  To simply be a human being.

Simple people do not get caught up in the unfairness in life.  They do not listen with anger and respond with vengeance.  They see light and are drawn to it.  They’re clear individuals that can respond with solutions and not just complain.  They respond instead of react.  And it’s their simplicity that keeps them humble and dignified.  Simple people see or experience tragedy and work through it and not around it.  This keeps them complete and understanding.

I also believe in responsibility.  Not to just go to work, pay the mortgage, and get the kids to school, but also to enforce responsibility inside, not just on the surface.  To not just promote a good life but to actually live it from the inside outward.  In a person’s life, responsibility also includes our jobs, our actions towards society, towards our fellow man.  Not to act like a good person, but to actually think, feel, and believe in the goodness of being a good person.

When I pulled in front of the woman at the ATM machine, I knew she was misdirected, and yet I reacted to her misdirection instead of responding to it.  If it meant that much to me to not wait behind someone who couldn’t make a decision, I should’ve communicated with her.  And if it didn’t mean that much to me, then I just should’ve waited behind her and not given it another thought.  Instead, I almost ruined her entire day, and who knows what that could’ve done to her family and friends.

I believe that we, as a society, need to remember how important and how powerful we really are.  We need to understand the true meaning of sharing experiences, applying yourself, being honest, open, and sincere.  It will bring you peace when you remember that you have so much to contribute to life, let’s not waste it on bitterness, anger, frustration, or unfairness.  Instead, let’s focus on the good things.

The power we hold within ourselves is worthless when we misdirect our hearts by allowing our minds to take over.  I believe the truest form of life is not just having the power to get your way, but having the power to help others find their way.  And when we see this powerful light that shines from within, we can capture it and allow those rays of sunshine to help our heart glow with a magnificent gleam that reminds us that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.