Guest Post: Be Present

This is from “Nat Turner” originally posted on Facebook. Reprinted with permission.

How often are we as humans actually present to the people around us? Something significant happened on my way into work today. I was not paying attention and leaving a convenient store, there was a mother pushing a stroller on the right side of me. Now I was nowhere near close to harming her or her kid but the fact remains I was not paying attention.

This woman went absolutely APE SHIT!!! Screaming profanity and even spitting on me and on my car. Now I could have done the same thing back. I did not deserve to be spit at, or on, for that matter. But, what I did was get “present” to her world and her feelings. I said, “You’re right!! I should have been paying attention!” She stopped yelling. I said, “I am totally at fault and understand why you’re so mad!” She still said nothing. I then said “I give you my word that I will be more vigilant and remember this moment,” and then I thanked her. She stood emotionless for what seemed like an hour then began to ball hysterically, crying.

She then apologized to me for spitting on me and said this: “I just moved down here from Vermont. This baby is only 8 months old. Her dad left us for his new wife and I’m all alone.” I hugged her and she cried. So did I! I told her that I live nearby with my girlfriend and am no stranger to pain. I gave her my business card and asked her if she would like to bring her child over for dinner one night with my girlfriend and I? She cried harder. I said, “You have to! It’s not an option now!” She started to laugh and I hugged her one more time.

If I did not have the tools to get “present” with another human being, this would never have happened. Spitting on me is a quick way to get your teeth knocked out. Ask somebody. But, we as humans have got to get present to the people around us. We have gto stop confusing our “standards and ideals” for “principles and values.”

I could have yelled at this woman. Instead, I got to feel her pain and be present to a total stranger’s life and made a new friend. I Love ya ;) Notice the world around you. You’ll find it looks just like you, but not at all the way your eyes see it.

The R.U. (A Grassroots Charity Movement)