No. 35 - 23rd April 2017

I had just parked my car in the Tesco’s car park and was heading towards the entrance when I heard the patter of running feet and a voice calling “Excuse me! Excuse me!” I swung round to see what was happening – as did the woman just behind me. Someone came running up shouting “you’ve left your hand brake off and we’ve had to stop your car running away”. Looking back I could see three people leaning against a car in the middle of the lane. Fortunately, not my car, and the lady behind me hurried back to deal with the situation. I couldn’t see her face, but I imagine it was rather red. Strangely enough, having done my shopping, as I came back out the door, I could see a runaway trolley gently gathering speed as it rolled away from one of the disabled spaces that face the long window at the front of the shop. An elderly lady who was just passing behind the car was rather startled when the trolley almost bumped into her. For a moment, she glared at the driver, who was of course facing the other way. Then shrugged her shoulders, put her bag into the trolley and carried on with it towards the entrance. It was all very English. No one shouting at each other. No one creating a scene. Just a bit of a laugh and a cheerful acceptance that these things happen.

We all make mistakes. It’s just that some mistakes have a greater consequence than others. But you should never let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. Nor anyone else, come to that. A friend of ours was once scolding her five your old for doing something careless. ‘You stupid boy’, she said angrily, and her son replied, ‘I’m not stupid. I may have done something stupid, but I’m not stupid’. Long may he believe it, because it’s all too easy for us to believe the things other people say about us.

Or, to look at it from the other side, wouldn’t it be good if we could overlook the mistakes of others instead of trying to use them to make ourselves feel superior. As someone once said, “It is part of human nature always to judge others very severely, and when the wind turns against us, always to find an excuse for our own misdeeds, or to blame someone else for our mistakes.”

Share via email