On Thursday while I was at South Station bus terminal in Boston waiting in line for the Peter Pan bus for a weekend trip to New York City another bus came into the station with a broken horn that was blaring without pause. The sound of a bus horn reverberating off of the walls of the bus terminal is enough to drive anyone crazy. It went on and on and on. There were about 30 people in line waiting for the bus, and slowly agitation started to set in. Five minutes later people started to get anxious. Ten minutes later I became worried that someone was going to explode. I closed my eyes and tried to just breathe, but the sound of the blaring horn overwhelmed me.
There was a woman in front on me who must have 70 years old. She turned to me and said, "if you sing with the sound it won't be so bad." I told her that I thought it was a great idea to which she looked me in the eye and replied, "so let me hear it." I had an immediate knee jerk reaction of resistance. You want me to sing in the middle of the bus terminal to the sound of a broken bus horn? Then, reaching down and finding the courage to be foolish, I belted out a sound that more resembled the sound of AUM than anything else. She broke into sound with me. Together we started to harmonize with the sound, and the grating horn quickly turned into one part of a three part harmony. We laughed and sang and made sounds. I was having so much fun that I forgot that we were standing in line at a busy bus terminal, and the sound of the horn became a doorway into spontaneity.
We stepped onto the bus gaily. All throughout the trip I felt connected to this woman. Every once in a while we would catch each others glance and smile.
The lesson here is quite obvious. It's the old story of turning lemons into lemonade; taking a potentially negative situation and responding in a new way. It reminded me that though I may not have control over what goes on around me I do have control over how I respond. This woman was an angel.