Consideration by Valentina Khan

Yesterday I sat in my car, buckled and ready to reverse just when I looked out my side window to see the people getting into their car next to mine.

There was a very elderly lady being seated in the back ever so gingerly. Her caretaker (that is what she appeared to be) carefully buckled her in, and then offered her a sip of ice water. Meanwhile I was in mid reverse, my engine running, on the go, and yet the ladies didn’t notice anything around them.

Simultaneously the elderly lady’s wheelchair didn’t have its brakes on and rolled into my rear side door. Instantly, I thought OK a little rude, these people aren’t really being considerate of the tight space we are sharing, should I roll down my window and say with as much patience as I can “excuse me”? Or should I let it go? I let it go. Those immediate feelings of impatience and annoyance washed over me, because I made myself stop and observe the situation, and the details of these ladies.

Beautiful Zion Built Above, detail, back by Page Turner

Here was a fragile, old, very dependent woman. A woman who has been living many more years than I. A lady who has seen and experienced so much of life, who probably raised children, took care of a family, and is now at the mercy of someone else to care for her. And then there is her caretaker. A much younger woman who still has a full life to live, yet is spending her time with someone who really needs her assistance and help. It was only moments this entire event took place, but in those moments I felt immediate annoyance because they were totally unaware of their surroundings, and then something really “mature” happened inside of me, that told me to turn off my feelings, but instead be patient and be empathetic. Once I did that, my busy life became very minor compared to the lives these ladies were living.

So, I parked my car, watched and waited, and waited.

Minutes later, after the lady was buckled in and hydrated, the caretaker finally whisked around to gather the wheelchair that was resting comfortably on my car. She didn’t even look up to see who was in the car, grabbed the chair and opened her trunk. Again the negative thoughts rushed over me, how could she not even acknowledge me? And again, I looked at her, at the lady through the window and just thought, they are doing their best. We are all doing what we can, and for the caretaker in that moment she was in a one track mind. The world around her didn’t exist; all that mattered was the task at hand — caring for the old lady.

I began to empathize since I also have humans who rely on me – a four-year old and a two-year old. And when they need me, everything around me freezes. So I get it. I get that sometimes it’s just absent mindedness, distraction, being so in the moment you forget to say please, thank you, excuse me or even make eye contact. And that’s OK. It takes the person who notices it not to get annoyed or pass judgement but to trust that the rest will work itself out.

Consideration of others feels way better than wanting others to be considerate of you. That parking lot experience was surely a test of my patience, but also a refresher lesson on the acts of empathy and consideration of others. Lesson accepted and understood.

Thanks life!


Valentina Khan, JD, MA is the Managing Director for Investors Philanthropic. She was born & raised in Orange County, California. She is the visionary and co-founder of I Am Jerusalem, & was a contributing member to the Interfaith Youth Council of Orange County, both of which are non-profit organizations that focus on building bridges of understanding, compassion, and friendship within the interfaith communities. She is passionate about bringing the joy of philanthropy to millions, by educating, collaborating, and creating an opportunity for donors from all walks of life to fulfill their philanthropic missions.

Categories: Aging, Body, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Feminist Ethics

Tags: , , , ,

23 replies

  1. I love this post. We so often lose our tempers when we have lots to do and stressful lives. Thanks for showing another way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and thanks for sharing the focus on slow-motion, emotional mindfulness process!
    Yes, the caretaker probably could train to be more mindful, or the cared-for could be more pro-active in micro-managing the caretaker’s work (which would probably be a very aggravating process for all parties). Who knows how much peace from their lives, from those they met later in the day, was preserved by your circumspection and patience, in choosing to not give them an earful about how they didn’t live up to better standards? By practicing empathy, mindfulness, and patience, you also practice generosity in giving peace to them, by not giving them extra hassles. Their inter-personal peace extended out into their lives contributes to peace in the community and beyond.

    It reminds me of a quote attributed to Mother Teresa:

    “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I appreciated this, very real, and a mindful outcome that connected for me.


  4. WOW!!!!!! Try being grateful you are not in a wheelchair! As a person who uses a wheelchair,walker,and caregiver I am always amazed at the selfishness of able bodied people.Really your first thoughts were about your inconvenience. Inconvenience is a way of life for those of us who are not able bodied!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting story. I see variants of that situation nearly every day. Some people in parking lots–the local grocery story seems to be about the most crowded, at least when I’m there–are rude, others are patient. As you point out, yes, patience is preferable. Thanks for posting your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing so honestly how you moved from irritation to compassion. I will keep your experience and insights in mind and heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just roll down my window and ask: “Can I help, Hon?”. Kind of illustrates for me how much fear there is in the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As a person who moves slowly, with a cane and some pain, I am always grateful for the open door someone provides. More often than not, though, my mantra (to myself) is, “Make way for the able-bodied!” Sometimes just being aware of my own situation is all I can do, let alone what all everyone around me is doing. Thanks for sharing your response of chosen patience. May it become a way of life for all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! A situation has come up for me calling for the practice of compassion —- to myself and others. This is a timely reminder! Extending even just a little bit more patience, understanding, consideration & kindness makes a huge difference! Bless your <3!!! Om Shanti. Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can relate to what you’ve written. My mother lives with me and uses a walker, and getting her and her walker in and out of the car can take some time. Being a caregiver can also be overwhelming and exhausting. Fortunately people in Maine are usually polite and understanding when they have to wait for us. Maybe that is because we live in a small town and the pace of life is slower here than in a big city. Anyway, I’m glad you were patient with the two women. Patience is something I often struggle with and having Mom live with me is teaching me to be more patient. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful story. Very courageous also. You told a story about a process of moving from the usual “I, I, Me, Me, ” (that state that we all spend quite a bit of time in) Into caring compassion and being aware. Moments like these are what life is about. Noticing, growing, caring, and letting go. Thank you for sharing. Peace and Blessings


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