by Kenneth Justice
~Earlier in the week as I was leaving the café after enjoying my morning coffee a random dude in a wheelchair asked if I had a cigarette,
“Sorry man, I don’t have any” I said
“Mother f****r! What the f*** is wrong with you!” he yelled at me. It caught me by surprise to get cussed out by a stranger for not having a cigarette… and for just a moment I considered turning around to him and giving him a piece of my mind………but then; I decided to let it go.
When I looked back at the guy and weighed in my mind whether to get into a cussing match with him I couldn’t help but realize that by the looks of it; the guy had clearly been stuck in a wheel chair for a long time….and he was probably going to be confined to one for the rest of his life……..
Was he in the wrong for dropping the F-Bomb on me simply because I didn’t have a cigarette? Sure…..but so what? Would I have really gained anything by responding towards him with the same level of hostility that he treated me?
All week long I have been discussing one simple concept; demonstrating grace to people and chilling out,
—) On Sunday I talked about enjoying every moment and not sweating the small things….that it’s okay to enjoy the little things in life, and that we don’t have to get mad at others when they do as well.
—) On Monday I talked about the importance of letting go of bitterness and grudges
—) On Tuesday I expanded the topic of bitterness by suggesting that we should also be there for those we love…even when they make choices we may disagree with them on
—) On Wednesday I compared and contrasted authentic love and grace against fake love
—) On Thursday I showed where life takes us when we don’t forgive the mistakes of others
—) Yesterday I discussed the tragic consequences of parents who cut their children off over religious doctrine
Perhaps I am wrong but it seems that so many people all across Western Society are on edge; at any given notice people are ready to go to war over the stupidest s**t imaginable. Road rage, relatives who argue over who will host the holiday dinner, parents who hold their children to unrealistic expectations, young adults who demonstrate so little respect to their parents and others in authority, sibling rivalries….and so much more.
It seems like a weekly ritual to turn on my television and see people disrespecting politicians, politicians disrespecting citizens, people disrespecting law enforcement, and law enforcement disrespecting people…..everywhere I turn people are at each others throats with anger and hostility.
And then, when I see parents refusing to look past the mistakes and choices of their children…….it only saddens me all the more. Because of all places where we should see the most amount of grace and love; it should be within our homes….right? But when I meet someone whose parents have kicked them out of the house because of disagreements over religious beliefs……I can only shake my head and wonder what the hell is going on in this world.
I respect the various readers who have emailed me in recent weeks and have accused me of being too soft and of not taking a firmer stance on various issues…….but in a world with so much anger, hate and hostility…..don’t we need more people to begin living lives based on grace, forgiveness, and love?
Sure, perhaps I sound cheesy……maybe I’ve been listening to John Lennon for too much of my life and I’ve got the tune “all we need is love….” stuck in my head. But if we are going to be honest with ourselves…..there are not very many well known public figures who are talking about grace, love, and forgiveness…and turning the other cheek.
—-) Hollywood celebrities are all about talking about themselves and accepting awards
—-) Athletes are all about people watching them and doing little dances after they make a great play
—-) Rock stars and pop stars are all about fame and living lives of luxury and excess
—-) Politicians are all about their own agendas and personal gain
Am I overgeneralizing just a bit? Perhaps……but for the most part the Mother Therese’s, Gandhi’s, and Jesus Christ’s of the world simply do not exist anymore…….the people who emulate those kind of characters are few and far between.
The people who live lives based on grace and love……are not the people we put on television and watch on 24/7 cable news shows.
So did I walk over to the guy in the wheelchair and give him a twenty dollar bill to go buy cigarettes? Nope. I won’t pretend to you that I am some saint who gives money to people who cuss me out. Honestly, it took everything in me to bite my tongue and not cuss the dude out…..I was gritting my teeth as I turned away from him and walked toward my car……..
But perhaps in that moment……simply walking away was enough. Sure, the guy was definitely down-and-out and I probably should of done what I could to help him out…..but if walking away was the only good alternative I could offer to cussing him out….then maybe I made the best decision at the time.
I definitely don’t want anyone to think that I’m any different than the next person……I’m just as self-centered as anyone else…..but perhaps in writing all this down every morning I’m slowly learning to move in a positive direction.
Besides, at least writing every morning gives me something to do as I drink my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society