Everything told an observer that this was chaos. One did not have to be too observant to notice. The wrinkled shirt and disheveled pants were the superficial indicators. Tussled hair, the hint of sweat on the face, and every moment in high or low speed with nothing in between added to the list. As I listened to the conversation, there was a distinctive edge to it. Nothing was in its normal order. Chaos, stress, and a sense that life had overwhelmed dominated what the senses were telling me.
I do not think the scene was unusual. While it is not that common, it is normal and accepted. One can observed acts of road range, extreme reactions to customer service (lack of), and abrupt interactions during the course of any day. Driving should be an act of caution; one has no idea what the driver will do next to you, even or especially in Singapore. Casual meetings should be taken with a note on intense observation; one never knows who is in desperate straits or looking for a helping hand. For some, common courtesies can be significant gifts of hope.
As I listen to the lives of others, I realize that even in our bright moments there is a fragile side to life that is hard to explain without sounding pathetic. The best response I can offer to the statement that “Lions ready to rip me apart, young lions poised to pounce” (Psalm 17.12) is a sympathetic ear, soft heart, and a willingness to help in a way that is helpful. I also see that this is what I am asking for from others. I am not looking for pity. I am not looking for someone to blame. Likely I contributed. Extremes are windows that push me to invite others in, to let him or her be part of my life, sharing in the ups, downs, and helping along the way.
The scenes replaying in the mirror faded and life returned to an orderly norm. It was then that I realized the invitation to walk beside remains.