19 May Spreading Peace Got Me Out of a Contentious Situation
THE SKY WAS OVERCAST and moody. A drizzle had been coming down all afternoon to awaken the Earth — the smells of the mountain, the colors of the flowers and the cold evening air brought me profound joy.
I love this weather; especially while I hiked the orange bluffs close to my house.
I was driving home a few blocks from my place. All of a sudden, a car jumps behind me. It stays close on my tail. The other day I was walking down this hill, backwards, on an early morning walk.
Yup, backwards, it feels good to change it up.
The man flipped around from where he sat parked in the other direction and pretended to drive towards me as if he’d hit me. I froze, then jumped onto the sidewalk, trying to get my brain to understand what he was doing. He cut out of the way and blew past me, mouthing something as he passed.
Strange, I thought.
At the bottom of the hill he turned around and pumped the gas back up the hill, flying by me once again. I didn’t know what to make of it.
It got to me for a second, but I tried to shake it off and carry on with my day.
It was the same guy, and when I made a turn and he stayed on me, I had a feeling. I turned onto a street before my own and when he also turned, I became nervous.
I pulled over; he pulled behind me. I didn’t know what to do. I looked back and made signs to pull past me or pull up, just waving my hand. He didn’t move, just kept staring at me with beating eyes. I could now make out his face.
I kept motioning to pull forward, but he wouldn’t do it. I started mouthing it, ‘pull up,’ and he would yell back, ‘I can’t hear you!’ In a mocking way.
I didn’t want to drive to my house with him trying to scare me; I dialed 911 on my phone and put it up to my window to show him so he’d carry on; he still did nothing.
It was decision time — do I actually call?
I put the phone down and put my hands together, and looked back at him again.
I felt sweat on my forehead. He looked slightly taken aback. I’m here for you, I was trying to say. He pulled up to my car.
‘What is that, what’re you doing?’ he asked — his eyes looked wild, something was off.
‘What can I help you with.’ I said.
‘What is that, do you believe in Jesus?’
‘I’m praying for you,’ I said.
‘Do you even know who Jesus was?’ He kept replying in a combative way, trying to get under my skin.
‘I don’t need to explain,’ I said with my hands still together. The gesture wasn’t strictly Christian. I wanted this man to be free of suffering. That he could find peace in his spirit; that he could let go of hurt.
I wanted to ease whatever pain he’s going through right now, not make it any worse. It took me a moment to realize this.
‘Do you consider yourself educated?’ he asked.
‘What can I help you with,’ I said after trying to slow down the conversation with a pause. I replied as genuinely as I could. He started acting like I was doing something wrong, walking around the neighborhood and now driving by.
My mind wasn’t thinking every decision through, it was just moving. I could feel my heart beating faster. I pulled out twenty dollars.
‘Dinner’s on me tonight,’ I said, putting my hand out for him with the bill in my hand. His car was about half a foot from mine, and a few people were in the street now looking at us.
‘I don’t want money. Want to get a drink?’
‘I don’t drink,’ I’ve never said that before. But it’s true. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol for two-and-a-half months, the longest I’ve ever gone without it. I’m planning on doing six months.
I’m going to use this time to see what I can learn. I’m trying to heal my body — but my soul is healing, every day, my soul is healing as well. This has been the most transformative year of my life.
I feel the universe has my back. In this moment, the connection felt more tangible than ever, the beliefs I’ve been pondering put into use.
‘I don’t,’ I replied.
‘Okay,’ he was softening up, ‘I respect that.’ He nodded to himself.
‘I live in the neighborhood, I’m just going home.’
‘I saw you the other day you walked backwards by me looking at me.’
Really, walking backwards is getting me into this.
‘That had nothing to do with you,’ I said. I had no clue he was there until he tried to scare me. He thought about the remark. I don’t know this man’s situation, but I felt for him.
‘Do you surf?’ he asked, looking at my Sex Wax car freshener.
‘I do,’ I replied. ‘What do you do?’
‘I draw,’ he quickly handed me four small sketchpads that were in the passenger seat. I felt my heart slowing, but I still had no idea where this would lead.
I took the drawings. They were beautiful. I wasn’t exactly sure what the first one was, but I believe it was tree bark in great detail, or a robotic arm. Lots of wavey lines, almost like the sketches you’d find on the edges of a Leonardo da Vinci notebook.
‘Here,’ he gave me one more. It had several sketches of the Mandalorian character from Star Wars, some from the waste up, some fully sketched out in action, all black and white.
‘This is really good,’ I said.
‘We’ll see,’ His car started to move. He began to go.
‘Take care man.’ I leaned back and sat there for a while after he drove off, thinking about it.
Spreading peace is what got me out of a shaky situation. The universe is telling me something; this was a test. I can write about what I’m learning, how I’m striving to find stillness and peace in everything I’m doing, and how I truly want to make the world a better place.
This was the most serious experience of putting my beliefs into action I’ve been confronted with. Every day. Every day provides a lesson.
When I knew nothing else, I dropped my guard, and so did this man. Right now, we need to spread the love. We’re all doing our best; let’s be there for each other.