The other day, as I was driving, I decided to give a few bucks to the homeless man standing on the corner. I pulled money out of my purse and as I drove up to the light, ready to make a left hand turn, I slowed down and held the money out the window. He jumped up quickly and ran to receive it. In that amount of time (maybe 3 seconds) the person driving behind me laid on his horn.
The homeless man yelled "Hey!" and I just thought, "seriously, what on earth is so important that you can't wait 3 seconds while I hand this man a few dollars?" It was annoying and exasperating. And more importantly, a good example of what I don't want to be.
I want to be patient, compassionate, kind & generous. And I will continue to be all of those things. I will not honk at you, if you slow down to hand money to someone and I will applaud your efforts and generosity. And, if I want to be all of those things, I have to find patience, compassion, kindness and generosity for the rude honker behind me. This is where things get tricky for me. This is what tests me and everything I want to be.
It is easy to love someone when they are being lovely and lovable. It's a lot harder to love them when they are being a dickhole. And I'm beginning to learn that this is where the power in love is. It takes strength to love. It takes strength to be compassionate instead of angry in the face of what feels like an insult. It takes perseverance to be kind to someone who is not kind first. And it takes a shit ton of generosity of heart and spirit to feel love and respect for someone who is not showing respect to you. Anger is the easy way out. It is what boils up first and we want to lash out and throat punch someone. It feels powerful, right?
But real power is in not letting them get to you and walking away, clear and free. And even more powerful than that, extend your heart in love. Forgive them. Don't let them ruin your day. And show them respect, dignity and love anyway. This is perhaps the hardest thing you will have to do. But do it anyway. Perhaps if you see the good in them, so will they.
The world has plenty of hate and fear. But it also has plenty of love. Love triumphs over hate, everytime.