Today is trash day in my neighborhood.
Yesterday I was hauling my three big trash bins out to the curb, when a man walked up my driveway. I had seen this fellow and his buddy an hour earlier when I was driving home from the supermarket. I didn’t care for the look of them — big men, baggy shorts, white T-shirts and matching baseball caps. It’s bully-casual, a look favored by tough guys in certain LA neighborhoods. So anyway, one of those guys walked up my driveway and launched into a sales pitch for house repairs and upgrades. I told him I didn’t need any work done. He kept talking. I told him I already have a handyman. He kept talking. I told him I can’t afford any home repairs. He said that he was offering a free estimate. I was really annoyed & didn’t hide it, and told him no thanks and started moving my trash bins while he kept pitching his business. Finally, he handed me his business card, and headed off with a “Have a blessed day!”. Before I was just pissed off. But his “blessing” enraged me. I tore up his business card and told him to keep his values to himself. He called back “I will pray for you.”
I am woman and so is my partner. The nice evangelical Christian woman across the street has never spoken a word to us in the fourteen years we’ve lived here. The first month in this house that woman’s husband made a point to walk over on trash day and tell me that in this neighborhood it is not allowed to have recycling bins so full that the lids are ajar. (Mine was chock full of smashed moving boxes). And then there was that night we were at a Japanese restaurant and so were these neighbors, and Christian lady’s husband looked up and said “hey, there are our neighbors” while Christian lady maintained her stoney silence and their children watched and learned. When the gay guys next door sold their house and the For Sale sign finally came down, I heard her husband calling out to another neighbor that he hope the new owner was “a family”. And there was that time when our neighbor in our old neighborhood had to ask her pastor if it was okay to invite us for Thanksgiving (afterwards for leftovers, not with the family). There are many stories I could tell, but to sum up: I am not a fan of some evangelical Christians. They secretly wish for the worst to befall me and mine even while saying they’ll pray for me. Their churches promote legislation to make the world a more hateful place. They walk onto my property and tell me they’ll pray for me when I don’t conform with their agenda.
It is just that easy to knock me off balance. A blow to one of the many places where hate has already wounded me, and I see again how far I have to yet to travel.
I’ve been reading a website where people share their near death experiences. It’s not that I want to hear about “over there” because “here and now” sometimes just sucks. I think that these contemporaries of mine have something to teach me about here and now. If so many people say they suddenly understand EVERTHING once they leave their bodies, doesn’t this imply that we in bodies do too, but we’ve chosen to let it be veiled? If so many of them say that without doubt they know that we are all connected, doesn’t this imply that we here are all connected, but have chosen to let it be veiled? If every single one of these people who have passed over come back and tell us that we have only one job — to learn that everything is Love and we are here to learn how to love ourselves and each other — isn’t that a big hint to those of us currently in bodies? To quote from one of those NDE stories:
“learning without a body is like learning to get over an addiction to drugs with no opportunity to do the drugs! Or like learning to love one’s own enemy without having enemies to deal with.”
I have been blessed with plenty of people to help me learn. In some cases, all they have to do is tell me to have a blessed day. It helps to try to live moment by moment. In fact, I think (for me) it’s the only way I’m going to learn. To quote another NDE:
THE MACROCOSM IS THE MICROCOSM. As within, so without. Once you decide to recognize the mirror, you will see how to change its reflection. At this time of increased social, political and environmental change it is even more important to tend to the fires within. We can make the greatest changes in the world by starting with ourselves. Whenever I have an outward situation catch my attention, like a sprained ankle, or strained relationship, it means it is time to settle and look inward for the cause. There is always an energetic root, and it’s an effective place to leverage change.
Take a breath. Recognize the mirror. Forgive yourself. Try again.
I had intended to write something else today, but this morning I read Karen’s posted about “Peace Within”, and yesterday I read Peter’s post about “This Life”, and my experience yesterday was still in front of my eyes. It all seemed to kind of fit together.