“This guy” is the phrase that my girlfriend and I use to refer to a former politician that, for lack of a better term, was a “hater” It’s sort of an inside joke. But in short, whenever I would make a reasonable point (or suggest that we’d consider another perspective), he would say, “THIS GUY…” And for my girlfriend (and my biggest fan), well, she couldn’t help but just chuckle a little bit. She’d remind me that ignorance is alive and well. Well, that guy is no longer around. Every now and then someone will mention him, and we’d look each other in the eye and say, “this guy…”
A few weeks ago, I was in a Wawa in Vineland. I ran into the store to grab a quick treat. Not paying too much attention to my surroundings I slip by some folks who noticed me. They don’t know me personally but I later recognized them as family of one of my foes. I scooted across the front display and caught sight of my foe. I suppose they were having a reunion (at the neighborhood Wawa). I grabbed my snack and kept it moving. Now this guy loathes me. No exaggeration! Every time he sees me, he stares. I don’t think it’s intimidation because we are not even running in the same circles. I am as non-threatening as they come. However, this guy sees in me what he, himself, is unable to attain…security. Insecurity is one of the characteristics as green and nasty as envy. I felt like his eyes were piercing through my soul. I’m cool with it though. I got in line, but he walked over to his family and began to whisper as he continued to stare at me. Had to put on my game face. I imagined that he was telling them that was his wife’s ex; or that I came at him sideways when he picked an on-line fight with me on the day of my aunt’s funeral; or that I am the reason that his wife can’t communicate with any of her friends. Who knows? My experiences with this man were limited and brief. Meaningless to me, but memorable to him. Saying hello to him would have certainly ignited a confrontation.
And then I stopped. I thought for a moment that I need to live my life in a way that is positive. I recognized that people are looking at me in a similar (or maybe completely different) way that I am looking at them. But we are looking, and we ARE watching. I am reminded that it takes more energy to be angry than it does to simply smile. I remember that I want to bring about positive change, and when I can not, I must be mindful that the Lord can do anything. Wait! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). So I must be kind. I must let His light shine through me. I must be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to take offense.
And then I realized it wasn’t about me at all. I paid for my snack and walked out the front door.