Something happened today that shook up my world. Really shook up my world in a way few things have in my life. A betrayal by someone that left me questioning every friend and contact I have, because I would not, in a million years, have imagined this could happen and that this person could have done such a thing. I would have vouched for this person! It got me thinking about integrity. How secret are our lives when nobody’s watching? Really, what are those things we do and are okay with because we believe nobody will ever know what we did? I’m not talking about private things that should (please) remain private – I’m talking about the other stuff we do when we are alone with the voice of integrity. For example, a couple of days ago, I said goodbye to a co-worker whom I like a lot and always chit-chat with and went out into the big parking deck, got my car and drove out of the lot. While waiting to make a right turn out, I made a quick call to my husband to ask a kid-related question. There were many people crossing the street anyway so I knew I would be waiting there a minute. Then there it was – “beep” and then another, much less patient “beeeeep” and I scooted forward a little and still some impatience and I noticed waving arms from the driver this time. As soon as I was finally able to complete my right turn, the car that had been behind me whizzed past me with the driver clearly irate, arms waving, words spewing and…the same really sweet co-worker I had, just a few minutes ago, bid goodbye at the wheel!!!!!!!!!
I was left with mixed emotions – amusement, surprise (to put it mildly), confusion. Of course I couldn’t really be mad at her as she had no idea it was me so it wasn’t personal. But then…did it matter that she didn’t know it was me? Integrity is what I thought of and I was reminded, once more, about the importance of integrity. Don’t get me wrong – I have committed my fair share of road raging on days I was running late or “PMSing” or displacing anger from elsewhere, and yes, even times when I was in a great mood and then switched to rage because of another driver’s road choices (and of course that driver was in the wrong!). But really, ultimately, integrity wins and if I could focus in on the fact that everyone out there is living their own experience, I could focus right back on living mine well.
I did choose to laugh out loud and then stopped in her office the next day to talk about it with genuine humor. She was mortified and it took a few days for her to believe I held nothing against her. As for the event that shook my world earlier today. I can’t get myself to laugh about it because it appears that this particular person’s actions might be the result of consistent and repeated disregard for the voice of integrity – a collection of which resulted in a betrayal beyond repair to those affected.