I was walking home from the supermarket this morning, head lowered, brow furrowed, a sullen slowness in my step. My shoulders hunched, my fists in a bunch next to my side.
“Good Morning!” I know I heard him say it, but wasn’t fully present to receive it properly in the thought. He said it again, “Good Morning, my friend.” And I stopped, as though surfacing from sleep, and looked at him almost embarrassed. “I’m so sorry,” I said shaking my head, a simple smile making way through the haze of darker thoughts. “Good morning, to you, too. Have a great day.”
I have had this routine with this man for nearly 2 years, nearly every weekday morning. He’s a traffic guard for the school on the little lane I live. As I’m coming back from my morning shopping, I pass him, and we smile and say “good morning” to each other. It’s a simple interaction between two people who know nothing about each other, but share a certain level of politeness to each other on a daily basis. And you know, I have to say, if I’m late, or early and I miss the part of my routine, it does feel as though something was missing from my morning. Then it dawns on me: that frail moment of politeness in passing has a power to it. It sets the mood for the day, it allows the day to begin with a hint of grace, it starts the day with just enough human connection that it allows a smile to echo silently in the soul. I move on, and that’s that.
But, this morning, I was so wrapped in my whole head about the events of the last few days, that I wasn’t paying attention to that. And I needed to hear that. It snapped me back quickly. Before I moved on, the shadow of anger and frustration dropped off my spirit. I was allowed my usual morning return, these moments I have described so often, and with such heart felt passion, about the early morning sun in spring. I paid attention again to the azaleas and bougainvilleas blooming in striking colors against the vibrant green of palm scaped lawns…. The warmth of the air is cooled just enough, the sun rises to lesser heights, and chirping interests of birds dabble in the distance just soft enough to hear. This is my favorite time of year, and I was missing it….
So, I thought about the last few days and remembered the practice of patience and understanding that I first pursued so long ago. There will always be evil, mean spirited people in the world who band together in mad mobs with the sole purpose of destroying people, and the more you fight them, the more you suffer. When you pursue truth, they promote lies. When you concede to ideas of compassion, they battle back with maliciousness. You will never win when. But, then again, if you remove yourself from their power, then they don’t win either. You have to find some madness in someone who gloats and laughs with pleasure at the promoted destruction of another human being. And I realize there is nothing I can do to soften the blow. They are the embodiment of a psychosis that hurts all of us in this modern world: the narcissistic need to harm someone else to show power. But, I’m not going to do that. I’ll find a greater power in silence and kindness. So, in terms of the last few days, I kindly walk away and will allow that bubble to burst somewhere else. I will not fight back, I will not engage with the deepening sadness that has caused so much hate to flourish. And I urge all of you to do the same.
So, I walk away with a better understanding of what it means to fight back. Refusing to engage is perhaps the the best way to win. I have made my points on the issue, I have pointed out how the situation evolved, then escalated. I have placed blame where I felt it was needed. I have learned that you will never be able to eradicate the things that people say about you, but you can refuse to listen. They may have done an excellent job of ruining my reputation, and harming some of our income, but I will not allow them to harm my spirit.
I am thankful that I have so many supporters, because those supporters have become my friends, a certain quiet kind of family spread all across the globe. We have promoted tolerance and truth in this blog, we have promoted the compassion in our craft, and we have done our best to introduce a new story line to the rest of the world: that you are not alone in this world, no matter how much it can hurt, you always have a place here. To my supporters, I knew you’d stand with me, not only to fight back a horrible injustice, but to allow some civility to reign. To my detractors, and to those that purposely wish to hurt me, or my friends and followers, I can only offer the power of “Good Morning” and wish you well. I am no longer involved in that madness. Do what you will with it, but we are walking away from it feeling we have done what we could with what we have, and at this point, that is simply to offer you will engage us with the same courtesy, for we all that we hope from here is that your smile echoes silently in your soul for the rest of the day if someone offers you just the frailest bit of kindness.
I’m going to spend the day doing what I do best. Writing in my poetic, contemplative way, knitting things that will offer hope to someone in need. So, “Good morning, everyone. Have a wonderful day.”
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