Who knows who or when
Sunday September 18th 2011, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Life

It took me longer than it should have: for the little girl, I was saying a prayer pretty quickly. But her mother too needed serious help and they clearly needed intervention.

It took awhile last night for me to acknowledge the sense of being tapped on the shoulder: Ahem.

Yes. Yes, I do hear You, I’m sorry, I’m on it. And I added a prayer for the woman who pushed me yesterday, and then the older woman with them and then all three of them together, but to be honest, it was with a sense of reluctance and of giving up on the one.

I wrote that post, I said that prayer, I knitted, I did my treadmill time, and as I racewalked, I kept being drawn back to the mystery of them: how had they come to this point? Was there anything anyone could do to make a difference? Thank heavens it (presumably) wouldn’t have to be me again–but the one thing I could do is say another prayer and mean it a little more from the heart this time.  And so I did.

It became easier to.

The thought settled in, as I hoped that maybe that was her lowest point at a bad time in her life and that perhaps it might shock her into seeing what she had become: she had assaulted the one person around whom she couldn’t just brush it off later as Oh, I bumped into someone. Rather, she pushed hard the one person around whose sense of balance was via tactile feedback, so that there was a very large and very public display of danger to that person in direct consequence to her actions and that she had to have had to dodge, although at that point I was suddenly not paying any attention to her to be sure of that. (As Richard on the other side turned to see and grabbed to steady the suddenly projectile cart.)

Lots of people saw. She could walk away but she would not be able to get away from herself on this one. Nobody yelled at her, nobody stopped her, nothing else she could project the blame onto.  Just her. She has to live with it.

I see two potential paths from there: either she refuses to acknowledge to herself any fault for anything anytime.

Or if only. She wishes she’d done better and tries to make up for it by treating others better from here on out. Maybe not now, maybe later; I think of a story Rachel Remen tells of one of her older patients glad for her cancer, wishing for retribution for the many evils she wished now at last she hadn’t done in her life, finally acknowledging them out loud. Dr. Remen heard story after terrible story of this woman who’d been a child in a war zone trying to survive alone, carrying that anger into adulthood, and realized, “I am her first witness.”

What a horribly long wait to begin to heal emotionally.

One of the things I’ve learned is that when you pray for someone, the answers don’t always come fast, they don’t always come in the ways you expect or even understand at first, and they very often come through other people.

May that woman encounter the other people she needs in the way she needs at the times that she needs. Starting right now seems to me would be good.

As I continued to say those prayers last night and today, I found myself increasingly able to give the whole scene up to God and, as far as anything concerning myself, to let it go.

14 Comments so far
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I’m sharing that book with the new guy; he likes it. I’m trying to incorporate those principles more consistently, but (as you know) I still have far too many days when I want to poke people with sharp sticks or sharp words. Mostly, I don’t, but I won’t feel victorious until even the urge is gone. [I think I will have been dead for a very long time before that happens.] Thank you for reminding me that in a given situation, there are as many truths as there are people involved.

Comment by Lynn 09.18.11 @ 10:52 pm

Sometimes you just have to ask for “God’s will be done”. We don’t always understand it but he knows. I’m sorry this happened to you.

Comment by pat Flores 09.19.11 @ 5:13 am

I’m sorry too. I hope prayer is healing for both of you; sometimes, I feel I’m just turning the other cheek and…

Comment by Channon 09.19.11 @ 5:50 am

\All I can say is that I know prayers help heal.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 09.19.11 @ 7:28 am

You likely will never know the outcome of this incident. One can only hope and pray that the woman will realize what she did, and as a result treat others better in the future.

Comment by Don Meyer 09.19.11 @ 8:50 am

ah Alison, the usual grace under adversity — thank you for this lesson in forgiveness

and I hope the woman finds peace as deeply as you have

Comment by Bev 09.19.11 @ 9:26 am

I’m very sorry you had to deal with that, and very happy to read that you gave it to God. God’s immense database of beings to connect with people, in surprising, healing, and instructive ways, is one of those things that gets me through life. I’ve received Instruction before, and sometimes it has been painful as well as enlightening, but never uncalled for. Wrath is one of the nastier sins, and the lessons one learns after an episode are particularly telling.

Comment by Patricia Day 09.19.11 @ 9:40 am

I’ve never found holding on to someone else’s thoughtlessness to make things any better for me (or any worse for them). Hopefully she realized and felt badly, and was just too embarrassed to stop.

Comment by Erica 09.19.11 @ 10:24 am

All good thoughts, ,but please be extra kind to yourself, emotionally as well as physically. Being the recipient of an attack is damaging.
That too needs to heal to be able to go forward. Let yourself cry and be comforted.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 09.19.11 @ 1:32 pm

Beautifully said. Our mutual friend Ellen said something in connection with WHNHH that I copied down and affixed to my desk where I can see it easily and frequently, and I think it can be interpreted to apply here, too: “It is a spiritual act to do a kindness or an act of grace for someone with whom you have tremendous disagreement.” And, it’s just the right thing to do–though not always the easy thing to do.

Comment by India 09.19.11 @ 2:46 pm

Prayer is truly a great equalizer and alleviator. I know first hand how freeing it is to “hand in” my worries and troubles. I believe that we all cross each others paths in whatever way, in person or via the internet, according to His plan. I can only hope that if I have ever been the source of a negative encounter with someone that the person would be as kind as you to pray for me.

Comment by TripletMom 09.19.11 @ 8:23 pm

Well said, Alison. Thank you.

Comment by Joansie 09.20.11 @ 5:30 am

you never fail to challenge me. I love how you’re able to step out of yourself and see what’s needed, even when someone’s being unkind to you.

Comment by Lene 09.21.11 @ 6:16 pm

Alison, you are very wise.

I turn to this blog as a sort of ministry.


Comment by Amy S. 09.22.11 @ 11:12 am

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