When you learn to drive, you’re told that there are blind spots in every vehicle. To be safe, we need to do shoulder checks before changing lanes or making turns; the consequences of ignoring our blind spots could cause great harm to others and ourselves.
In life we have blind spots too, but they are not as easy to compensate for. Other people can often see them when we cannot. If they try to point them out, we often react defensively. Last weekend one of my blind spots came into view, and it has been hard to process.
In most areas of my life I do not take matters into my own hands—I don’t cut off other drivers to get in first, I don’t butt into lineups, I ask for permission when my actions will affect others. Yet I acted quite differently when it came to a plot in a community garden. Last year we had planted vegetables in a particular plot and without making much of an attempt to contact the people in charge, I planted seedlings in the same plot on May 12th. It was planting season, I reasoned, I’ll work out the details later.
Last weekend I was “busted” because the people running the garden had rented out this plot to someone else (who had paid the fee and signed an agreement according to a new policy). There was a cardboard sign asking us to move our plants. My blind spot caused distress to another gardener, not to mention the volunteers trying to coordinate things. In their eyes I was a squatter, a lawless individual who planted on private property without permission. It all seems so obvious to me now—how did I think I could get away with this, becoming over-familiar with this plot and considering it my own?
This experience and the need to make amends have renewed my awareness of having blind spots. I’m sure this is not the only one! I think I’ve come to a place where I’m more open to hearing about my blind spots and working on them. And if I see one in others, I will not be as quick to judge.