Friday, January 19, 2018

Scary People -- 10 Things I Learned in New York

    The man yelled at the top of his lungs, right in the middle of the subway car.  He preached about life, and growing up poor.  The whole time he jumped in front of people, daring them to contradict him.  "You disagree?  You call life fair?  YOU call this a just government?!  You think this is a good world?  Just because you sit there in your nice shoes, with your nice job--you think you're better than me!"
    My violin case rested snugly against my back, and he looked at me several times, then glanced at my case.
    "You think you're free?  We're not living in a metro-city, we're livin' in a hypocrisy!"
    A woman leaned next to me and whispered, "He is crazy.  And we don't have another stop for a long time!"
   I thought of how I'd played my violin on the subway (the day before) and everyone had gotten out on the next stop.  Too bad we didn't have a choice now.
    After that, I studied the screaming man and felt pity for him.  His face bore so much pain--worry-lines, areas where time and misfortune had tainted and distorted his features.
    What had he looked like before pain consumed him? As I thought all of this, I suddenly set my violin case on my lap.  
    "Oh no," Mike said.  "You're going to pull your violin out?"
    "And why not?  If I can clear a subway car, maybe I can calm one down too!"
    So, I got my violin out, and started plucking it and humming to the melody.  The whole time I hummed, I imaged love and kindness pouring out of me--wrapping around that man.  
    The man yelled louder, getting red in the face; yet everyone around looked at the violin, and listened to the simply plucked melody--notes loud enough to cut through hate.  
    He got quieter and quieter, then swore and got off at the next stop. 
    The lady who had spoken to me earlier smiled and said, "That was brave.  I thought things might get worse--that he'd hurt you.  How did you think of that?"
    "If there's one thing I know, it's how to clear a subway car."  
    I put my violin away afterward, then Mike and I continued on the subway ride like nothing had ever happened.

   photo AAE47F9F-62A1-43DD-9C4D-3EC024DEF941_zpswydpjcqs.jpeg 

Me, after clearing a subway car the previous day.

Sometimes we don't want to accept our gifts, but once we embrace our unique abilities, we can affect change.