Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Angry at the world

I was wrong. I parked my car blocking the garage of the house next door. I parked it there believing no one was living in the house. It has a big FOR SALE sign on the front gate and another one on an upstairs window. The realtor gave me the idea. He was showing the house a few days ago and said that I could park there for now while the house was vacant. So I did. In this part of town, the streets are a jungle and cars are monkeys looking for a spot to hold on to.

 My sister was on her way to meet with me for lunch. I had her on the phone as I look out the door and see that the spot right in front of my car is open. I jump for joy and decide to move my car forward to reserve her a parking spot. Then, out of the blue, a hand violently slams down on my passenger side window and an angry woman throws herself in my direction. I lock the car and stare. I cannot believe what's happening.

I finally came out of the car to the screaming and the cursing from this neighbor. I let her have her moment. Her rage was astronomical. If I had attempted to defend myself, she would have physically hurt me, I'm sure. Surely this can't have anything to do with me, I think.

It turns out that in her eyes this had everything to do with me. The house next door is not really vacant. Now I know. How dare you park there? Who do you think you are? What you have done to me is unforgiveable! Screaming at me, though, didn't solve her problem. Not listening kept her unaware of the truth of things. If she had given me an opportunity to explain, she may have not been that angry. I was in the wrong. I wanted to tell her that and apologize, but she fumed and then stormed away, drinking poison in my name.

I did go up to her later. A courage that's better than me came over me. You are right...and I am sorry. She forgave me even offering the parking spot if I ask for her permission. She probably felt silly too. The level of her anger was in disproportion to my mistake. She probably is angry at the world and this really has nothing to do with me...

How many times do we play the angry role? Today's a good day to see things from a different point of view. Remember that we all make decisions with the information we have at the time and with our individual capacity to think and understand. Today is a good day, too, to say You are right...and I am sorry. These seven words have the power to disarm and to relieve the anger in and at the world.

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