When people ask, “how are you?”, I should respond that I’m learning and growing, as it seems that I learn something new quite often and I hope that it makes me a better person, with better perspective. The latest incident again involves my wife, Jen.
The other day, I was leaving my office to rush into DC to pick up one of my boys. Since the pandemic began, I haven’t often found myself in traffic but on this day, traffic on route 66 was at a standstill and there was a report of an accident up ahead. I found myself frustrated and worried as my GPS showed that I would be 30 minutes late to get him.
I called Jen and hurriedly explained that I had left my office with what I thought was plenty of time, but that there was an accident, and she would need to drop what she was doing to pick up our son. My expectation was that she would mirror my frustration at having her day upended, but to my surprise, her first words were “I hope that the people in the accident are okay.” At that point, my frustration ended, and my embarrassment began. The embarrassment didn’t last long, but the change in my mood and perspective did. I discovered that when I’m thinking about others instead of myself, I’m calmer and more content. I think we probably all know this, but it’s difficult to always keep that perspective in the moment.
Ultimately, Jen also got caught up in unexpected traffic and was 30 minutes late in getting to our son. He too learned something about patience that day.
Take care and stay safe.
Empress of the Nile by Lynne Olson
In the 1960s, the world’s attention was focused on a nail-biting race against time: Fifty countries contributed nearly a billion dollars to save a dozen ancient Egyptian temples, built during the height of the pharaohs’ rule, from drowning in the floodwaters of the massive new Aswan High Dam. But the extensive press coverage at the time overlooked the gutsy French archaeologist who made it all happen. Without the intervention of Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, the temples would now be at the bottom of a vast reservoir. It was an unimaginably large and complex project that required the fragile sandstone temples to be dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt on higher ground. A willful real-life version of Indiana Jones, Desroches-Noblecourt refused to be cowed by anyone or anything. During World War II she joined the French Resistance and was held by the Nazis; in her fight to save the temples she challenged two of the postwar world’s most daunting leaders, Egypt’s President Nasser and France’s President de Gaulle. As she told a reporter, “You don’t get anywhere without a fight, you know.”