In the food court of a foreign airport the angry people in line behind me cussed and denigrated each other to the point that everyone around them was embarrassed to be standing there. I’m not sure what the argument was about, but it has something to do with one not willing to carry the other’s drinks. I don’t know if they meant literally carrying drinks back to the gate or if they were talking about carrying bottles of rum back into the states. The long line allowed the two ladies time to disinvite each other from Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas morning and next summer’s vacation trip.
I thought about the weight of carrying all that anger and bitterness. The idea of doing so, and being these angry people, was daunting to me.
I try not to label people, but it has occurred to me that some folks are imprisoned in who you have experienced them to be. Case in point, on a recent grocery trip, I ran into a guy with whom I’d had some business dealing in the past. We didn’t speak. In fact, he was on the phone the whole time of the encounter fussing and cussing (in the checkout line and then again in the parking lot; our cars were next to each other). Unfortunately, that moment so captured who I remembered him to be. He was angry and argumentative years ago, and so he is today as well.
Getting into my car, I heard him say “I thought this was settled. I don’t have time to be dealing with bleep, bleep broke azz people!”. Looking at him, my own anger from our dealings long since passed, my feeling was more of empathy. How heavy must it be to be “that guy”? (by the way, just because someone doesn’t want to pay you 20 grand in cash up front, doesn’t mean they’re broke. It might just mean they’re smart.)
But back to the argument going on behind me in the foreign food court. I noticed and odd dynamic to their conversation, but I couldn’t quite put a name to it. By this point one is stating that she’s going to have her seat on the flight changed so that she doesn’t have to sit next to the other one. But besides making everyone uncomfortable, I’m still hearing something else between their words. I wanted to turn around like some of the others had done, but I refuse to give in. I refuse to add to their shame, even though curiosity burns inside of me. Then in the middle of my battle with temptation, an older man wheels over an older lady right in front of me. She’s in a wheelchair and her driver’s intent was to place her in line with her granddaughter, who happened to be standing right next to me. The granddaughter had been standing in the very long food service line simply to hold a spot for her grandmother.
Ironically, and contrary to what you often hear, healthy, loving relationships are about unconditional sacrifices by both parties, where each puts the other before themselves. Even if that means holding one’s tongue, be you right or wrong. It can mean loving someone enough to fill in the gaps when one of the parties has not yet realized how much they are loved, or perhaps lacks an understanding of the true nature of love. Or it can mean, as it did in this case, standing in a long line for a loved one, just because.
As for me, I simply don’t have the time or energy to carry hate around. To be an angry person is to live a life of enslavement to those with whom you are angry.
Anyway, after paying for and picking up my order, I turned around for my first glimpse of the feuding women. Looking at their faces, the oddity in their conversation I felt before was explained. The commonality between their faces testified that the women were related.
Angry people are often so consumed with the thought that someone has beaten them out of a loaf of bread that they miss the fact that there is an endless field before them to harvest. Anger has no future, but forgiveness is eternal. So, let it go and live the life you’ve been given, for someday soon it will be over. The only question is, what will your harvest be, peace or bitterness?
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