Being Brave & Being the Good. Even when it's hard.
I shared this story a couple of years ago, and it's on my heart to share it again. It was impactful & affected me then, and it still encourages me to stand up and Be the Good.
I have a story for you all. And warning---it's not all sunshine and rainbows and even has language in it that you may not like to read, but it's on my heart to share this story. As you may realize now, I'm wordy. I'm a big-feelings person. I love being inspired. And I love stories, music, and art that inspires, motivates and surprises me. My husband and I spent this past weekend visiting with my brother and sister-in-law in Chicago. And had a fabulous time. But also experienced something that I cannot get out of my mind as I sit down to work this evening. We were on the red line train, heading downtown to Christkindlmarket, when suddenly a man, probably in his early 30s, hurriedly got on, who had an annoyed and angry look on his face, pushing people out of his way. A young woman, likely in her early 20s, also got on at the same time, sat down across from us. The train was completely silent, people minding their own business, when she stood back up and looked at him and asked, loudly but in a calm voice, "What's going on?? Are you angry about something? Are you in a hurry?" To which he replied, "Shut your mouth." She asked, "I just want to know why you were in such a hurry to have pushed by those young kids just now? Why are you so angry?" Man says, "Shut your mouth! Get outta my shit!" She says (all the while, keeping her calm and gentle manner), "What makes you think you can speak to me that way?" Once again, he replies, "Shut your mouth!" Finally she says, "I'm sorry for you. You must be really hurting to be so angry. I really hope someone tells you they love you today because you need to hear it. You need to hear that you're loved." Complete silence from him. And the ENTIRE train car. Our stop came, we got off the train and we all let a deep breath out, after witnessing such an intense and bizarre exchange. This was my husband's first CTA experience, by the way---quite the first one, to say the least. So, why am I telling you all this? Well, after it continued to be a topic over the weekend and we shared the story with more people, it became clear that it was having a deeper effect on me. Did what she say change this man's heart? His mood? His day? There's a pretty good chance it didn't. BUT, what affected me was the FACT that she DID SAY SOMETHING. She stood up for those that he negatively affected and confronted him. And not only that, but she stayed calm and collected. AND THE MOST AMAZING PART of the whole interaction is that she said HE NEEDED TO KNOW HE WAS LOVED. Mind.Blown........I'm telling you right now, I wouldn't have had the guts to stand up to someone in that situation, much less share those powerful words with him. It inspired me to look at things a little differently. That train was packed with people, who sat looking at their phones, not conversing or noticing those around them (including me and my group). But there she was, standing out. With all of the scary, horrific, sad things going on in the world around us, MOST of us are fearful to stand out and stand up. We are afraid of what 'bad' can happen for doing so. So, some of us spread the fear. Some of us avoid situations all together so that we don't have to make a choice. Some of us cover our eyes and sit quietly, pretending it's not happening around us. But SOME of us, like this young woman, attempt to stand up and stand out, refusing to be quiet. Refusing to hide our eyes. Refusing to ignore the hate, sadness, fear around us. She may have not made an impact on that man. But she certainly made an impact on me.
The video I'm attaching is one I saw a few months ago, and it came to mind while sitting here and writing this. It was powerful to me, and I hope you watch it. A part of Jim Carrey's graduation speech is in it and this is my favorite part...listen up friends:
"How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide?...I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is...You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world and after you walk through those doors today, you will only ever have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart." #chooselove #hope #bethegood