So, I arrive home from another long insurance and income tax preparation day at my office when, lo and behold, there is one car with it’s lights on and another where the owner-driver is getting ready to open his door.
Now the driver in the first car occupied a space large enough for two cars. Unfortunately, as many people tend to do, the driver was running the engine, wasting precious gasoline, and making their own contribution to global warming while checking messages and updating their social media sites (“I’m in the car, class was okay, too many interruptions while I was Pinning. On my way home. Weather is yucky””.
So, I waited for the other spot. Now this car had about 5 inches of clearance on either end of the car. No problem, those are the spots I usually slide into on the first try.
The driver, a Black man with an African accent., kept looking at me and finally walked over to my car and with the most condescending attitude proceeded to tell me how he didn’t think I would be able to get my car into the spot he should have been in the process of vacating.
As he walked back to his car, I prayed God would make the other person in the two-car spot leave quickly, because this fool needed a good talking to.
Well readers, the Lord answered my prayer and Social Media vacated their spot. I zoomed into it, leaving enough room for another vehicle, got out of the classic, and walked over to the human I named Captain Stupid Head.
He opened his window and I got right in his face. “Let me school you Bucko. I don’t know where the you’re from, or what they taught you about the American Black Man before you got here, but don’t you ever again in your life, never again in your life, think you have the right to tell another Black man what he can and cannot do. You don’t know me, you know nothing about me, but I’ll tell you this slick, my ancestors picked cotton in this country without the benefit of paychecks, pensions, vacation days, the ability to love and legally marry, the right to watch their family sold away, and without the right to even learn how to read the slave master’s Bible, and your trifling ass shows up here with a student visa and probably all kinds of funding to get a college education, the benefit of which you will never realize if you keep telling people what you feel their limitations are. You feel me dog?
“Now stop driving like a damn punk, get out of this spot and go home. And give thanks to whatever Creator you worship you ran into me and not some fool with a gun, a foreclosure notice, and a layoff notice. At least with me, you’ll get to go home tonight. Next time, you could come across the wrong one and you won’t be so lucky.
“Oh, and if you get any stupid ideas in that empty head of yours, I wrote down your plate number and I just got the year and make of your car from your window registration. So got straight home, and please pray my car doesn’t ever even catch a cold.
My apologies to the cars at either end of his – he got out real quick.
Was I wrong, even foolish, to approach his vehicle and spew my mild venom?
While many will agree with my yes, others, knowing what my life has been like the past few months, are happy I didn’t pick up his car with him in it and toss them both into the bushes.
I believe God made this particular meeting possible for three reasons. One, Captain Stupid Head needed to be put in his place, possibly for the sake of a family back home, depending on whatever he can send back.
Two, I released a ton of pent-up despair I didn’t know I had, or refused to acknowledge I had. And oh boy, am I feeling better.
Number three, he knew this one wouldn’t try to shoot or stab me.
Thank you, God.
In other words, a rather propitious meeting.
Sometimes in life, the words of others can destroy us. And yes, I do mean destroy us to the point of wanting to say to hell with this thing called life. Recently, while sitting in the office wondering where I’d gone wrong in life (don’t act so sanctimonious, I’m sure a lot of you wonder the same thing at times. If you can really be honest with yourselves), when I felt compelled to call a client I hadn’t spoken to in ages.
I called the number I had on file without success. Temporarily disconnected, the message said.
Don’t ask me why, but I went a step further and sent her emails to every one of her email addresses. Couldn’t figure out why. Just had this impelling need, for some inexplicable reason to connect with this lady. Wrote some of my funniest, off the cuff material. Don’t know why. Just felt good doing it.
About five minutes later, my phone rang and lo and behold, it was her. The first thing she said to me was, “If it had been anyone else, I’d of gone through with it … ”
“Gone through with what?
“Killed myself. I was so finished with this life, and you had to send me those emails, you had to make me laugh again, when all I wanted to do was cry myself to sleep. Forever.”
“Where you at?”
“My girlfriend’s house. I’m staying here now.”
“What about your apartment?”
“Gave it up.”
“Why? That was a great, huge, and rent-stabilized apartment.”
“Oh yeah. Tell you what, give me your girlfriend’s address, I’m on my way.”
We talked, went for the coldest walk I’ve ever endured, shared coffee at a café, shed some tears together.
“Why?” I asked.
“I thought he loved me, he told me he loved me, but he just decided one day he could do better.”
She turned and looked at me. “G, what did you do when your heart was broken?”
“When I stopped crying, I sent my heart out for repair.”
“What? Where do you send a heart for repair?”
“The Universal Twenty-Four Repair Shop. Always an open bay. No need to schedule an appointment, drive-in service is available twenty-four hours a day, no waiting. You see, whichever Creator you believe in knows just when you are coming in for some work. You don’t even need money. Just give thanks for the repair. Heck, they’ll even loan you tools to do your own tune ups after the initial maintenance.”
“And guess what? All of the work comes with a lifetime warranty.”
Tears started falling from her face,her body began to shake and quake, and she began to moan, “Oh God, oh God.” I just put my arm around her shoulder and waited.
After a time, her quaking and crying stopped. “Where do you find this repair shop to start the healing?”
“You already found yours. You called out his name. The work’s begun.”
“G, I don’t know last time I prayed, and I don’t know how to pray, but …”
“Hell, if there is one thing I’ve learned over the past couple of years, it’s that the same people who think they are qualified to tell you how to pray really need to go in for a refresher course on what real prayer truly is.”
“Tell you what, let’s hold hands, and you just talk to The Universal Power. Some say God, some Yahweh, some Jehovah, some Allah, and some Buddah. Just talk, that’s prayer to me. Pray for what you want, not what you have. Work from your imagination, not your history.”
“How do I start, G?”
“Just talk. Tell you what, start by giving thanks and gratitude for life.”
“G, that seems so easy.”
“Yep, no need for soaring theatrics, loud screaming, jumping up and down. It’s not a performance, just a simple talk. Such a beautiful, simple prayer.”
We sat for a time, just talking when she looked at me and asked, “How did you survive feeling like you were inadequate, you weren’t enough?
“One day I looked my daughter’s high school yearbook, and realized I did something right for her to be positioned for the Blessings she enjoyed, enjoys now, and the many more she will enjoy. Then, suddenly, I found all the photographs of her at college, photographs I’d had trouble finding before.
“Then, I just wound up viewing to a T. D. Jakes sermon. Next thing I knew, I was listening to Dr. Myles Munroe. I pulled out all of my old tapes by Les Brown, Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, James Weldon, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and other speakers, and did nothing but listen to them, and read books necessary for the feeding of my soul, for about a month.
“What’s funny is I finally heard a quote, something Les Brown says every time he speaks. I mean, I’ve heard it at least 50 times, but I finally heard it for the first time.”
“What quote G?”
“Someone else’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” I would add though, “Unless their opinion of you speaks to your greatness,your kindness, your love, your glory, and your ability to use the unique gifts and purpose God has given you to positively affect his world.”
“Now, make me a promise.”
“Anything G. Anything.”
“Promise me you’ll obey the three-day rule from this day forward.”
“What’s the three-day rule?”
“When you are under attack, take the problem, put it aside for three days, and then examine it again. Chances are during those three days you’ll come up with a solution, the problem will resolve itself, or you’ll realize what you thought was a problem or a failure wasn’t that at all. It is just the way you reacted to what you thought was a problem, and you now recognize it for the Blessing it really is.”
“You sure must have listened to a lot of tapes, huh?”
“You mean still listen to daily. You’ve got to feed what feeds you. And these meals are delicious.”
“Does the hurt ever go away?”
“I’ll let you know when it does. In the meantime, you do learn who loves you for you, who truly values you for who you are and what you bring to the table. You will smile and laugh at good jokes, and your heart will learn to soar again as you watch a play or movie, or hear a choir sing. And, as Les Brown would say, if you’ve got to fall, then fall on your back, because as long as you can look up, you can get up.
“And remember, the only people who don’t feel pain, don’t know hurt, are dead. Or damn liars.”
“Thanks G. Wait a minute, isn’t this your cell number, a number more difficult to get than President’s Obama’s?”
“Yep. I save it for the really special people, people who may need to reach me, especially when Evil declares war on my buddies. And don’t you ever leave home without it.”
Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF, is a New York State licensed Insurance Agent and Broker, Income Tax Preparer, New York State licensed Continuing Education Monitor, and a Defensive Driving Delivery Agent and Instructor for Empire Safety Council. You can reach him at 718-783-2722 or Eustace@insuremeeg.com to buy flood, life, home, disability, condo, coop, renters, wedding, and long-term care insurance coverages you need to solidify your financial pyramid.
And, if you are his friend, he is available for the talk you never thought you’d need.