If there’s someone in your life that sets your teeth on edge when they enter the room, you’ll appreciate how much of an effort today’s good deed was for me.
One of my neighbours is an outgoing, friendly sort — until his temper transforms him into a churning ball of rage who routinely screams and yells at his 75-year-old father. The dad is a kind man who usually turns the other cheek with his son and tries to reason with him calmly and quietly. These outbursts usually take place on the driveway, for some reason, so the whole neighbourhood bears witness to them.
It’s difficult to know what to do when this happens. There’s never any physical violence and the father is big and strong and stands up for himself, albeit in a quiet way. You may have experienced this scenario in reverse — in a mall, for example, where the parent is the one scolding a small child. (If you intervene, you do so at your own peril!)
I know this angry not-so-young man has many personal problems to deal with and I tried to keep that in mind today as I said hello, forced myself to smile and chat with him for a few minutes. I reminded myself that I don’t know what it’s like to walk in his shoes — it may very well be pretty lonely.