Today was my first day back to school. I wasn't looking forward to it, for one, because I had to get back to the awful routine of getting up at 6:00 in the morning, but also because my schedule this semester is pretty tough (Pre-cal, Chem 2, and Physics 1). I got through the day starting out okay and gradually dreading the semester, especially because I'll have a lot of homework and assignments among the three classes.

When I got to my car, I turned the key and it wouldn't start. I sat there for a moment, trying to get it to start, thinking I was going to have to call someone and let them know what was going on.

But then the car started. I breathed a sigh of relief and drove out of the parking lot. Going down the street, I left the stereo off so I could listen to the engine and see if I could hear anything wrong with it. As I was driving to a busy intersection, I saw flashing lights ahead. There was a fire truck and several police cars blocking the two lanes except for the turning lane, and all the cars had to pass by in the turning lane. I was let into the single-file lane and then let someone else merge, and passing by I noticed the police were tending to someone on a stretcher. I didn't stare, I just saw it out of the corner of my eye.

I passed the vehicles and got back into the lane I needed to be in. As the light stayed red, I prayed for the person in the stretcher as well as the police and others who were there. I prayed for them not to suffer. It's what I had learned from my Buddhist teachings.

I am now home, and the first thing I did was made a special cup of tea (my aunt gave me a great blend called 'African Nectar'), and drinking it, I had the realization that my problems are really just inconveniences, and that people like those I passed in the car are the ones who really are suffering. The tea is a simple pleasure that is calming the negativity I was having from the day.

You tell yourself that people are going through harder times than you are, but it really sinks in when you see it firsthand.


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