Love Your Enemies

          Having spent the last 37 years of my life living in our small town of less than 800 people, it is rare for me not to know someone either by face or by their face, name and family ties. I often see folks when I am walking my dogs or taking my grandchild, Ellie, for a walk in her stroller. A few weeks ago, while walking the dogs down a one-lane back road, I saw an acquaintance barreling down the road towards us. I quickly pulled the dogs over into the grass and stood still, waiting for the man to pass us by. The man stopped his car right next to me, rolled down his window and began cursing and calling me names I'd not been called since I stopped teaching high school students with behavior disorders. His tirade included threats to hurt the dogs. When I asked what was the matter, calling the person by his name, he threw his car into park and jumped out of it coming towards me. I was obviously dumbfounded and to tell the truth, a bit shaken. I apologized to the man for whatever had so angered him, addressing him again by his name. When he got back into his car, I told him to tell his mother that I said hello and turning my back to him, began to walk towards home.

          When I got home, I gave a great deal of thought to what had happened on that back road. I wasn't afraid, wasn't angry, just perplexed. So many thoughts ran through my head. Had something terrible just happened in the man's life? Had he had an argument with someone? Had he taken some wrath-inducing drug? Had he had too much to drink? What had so provoked him that my dogs and I caught his wrath? I had known the gentleman for over 30 years. He and my husband went to school together from kindergarten through high school. I taught the man's brother and was present at his brother's funeral after he unexpectedly died of an undiagnosed heart defect. I had visited the man's mother when she has been ill. But most importantly, I had never had a cross word with the man until that early evening on the back road. The person in that car was not the same person I had known those three decades.

          I am sure to see the gentleman in town for I usually see him at the post office or talking to folks on Main Street. As I have thought of the next time our paths cross, my first  inclination is to avoid him, to walk the other way, to completely ignore him. He threatened me, cursed me and threatened to kill my dogs. He had ranted and raved and then exploded out of his car to intimidate me. Why on earth would I want anything to do with him? Why? Because Jesus  said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your father in heaven; for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good; and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous."

          I am sure there have been times in my life when I have not been very righteous, either through my thoughts, words or deeds. I feel fairly certain I have persecuted others in order to get what I have wanted or simply to get my way. Afterall, isn't that what we do when we sin? I know I would much prefer to have second, third, and several other chances than to be shunned and marked as an enemy. I don't know when the next time will be that I will see the man, who was so filled with anger and rage that evening on that quiet back road, but I know I must give him another chance and show him kindness. Perhaps in return, he will show me kindness as well.

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  1. The Kiss of Peace By Gede Prama
    http://www.bellofpeace.org/

    “Why do women close their eyes when they are kissed?”, this is the question of many teenagers. Every spiritual friends who grow deep in meditation know, the true beauty is hidden within. The outer beauty is merely the reflection of the inner harmony.Sadly, very few of people in this age who can meet deep beauty like this. Most human beings fight against themselves. On the path of compassion, it is often heard a beautiful message like this: “be kind to those who harm you. They are fighting. And they do not fight against you, they fight agains themselves”.This explains why life is burning in many places. Hospitals are full, the victims of drugs increase significantly, the story of divorce and suicide are very touching. In short, very few of people who find the inner harmony recently. Most people are burning in the chaotic inner conflict.As has been shared very often in meditation classes, there are many seeds of violence were planted within us. Family, schools, leaders, society planted countless seeds of violence in our inner life. That’s why many people can be easily burnt simply because of small things.At the level of healing, meditation keep teaching the approach of selective watering. Students are suggested to water only the seeds of peace. To put it clearly, surround yourself with people who support your peace journey. Every time the memory of violence appear in the mind, learn to smile to the bad memory, learn not to react in the forms of speech or action.Quoting the teachings of ancient Indian in America, within us there are good and bad wolves which keep fighting every day. And the winner is the one who is fed every day. With the approach of smiling to the seeds of violence within, not to react in the forms of words and actions, one is no longer feeding the bad wolf within.In the language of meditation: “recognize mind as mind, not as a truth. Recognize feelings as feelings, not as yourself. That is how meditation cures many lives”. Anyone who diligently practice meditation like this, one day they will experience a deep healing. And they are no longer burnt by the heat of life everywhere.At the level of perfection, the selective approach of watering is not necessary. What is needed is a consistency to witness without choosing (choiceless awareness). Every movements of life outside and inside, both are similar to snow flakes falling into the lake. It causes ripples for a while, but finally they disappear.Meditate or not, praying or not, that’s the natural nature of life. Everything grow follow their own law. Shade trees invite the coming of birds. The blooming flowers invite the coming of butterflies. How bad or how beautiful everyday life, everything simply appear and then disappear. It is as simple as snow flakes falling into the lake.Any inner seekers who are one with the daily meditative life like this, they can transform life into a song of harmony. This is what allows a person to find the true beauty within. In the depth of beauty within, life is the kiss of peace.Author: Gede Prama

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