In the Midst of What Is

IMG_0863Sometimes riding the bus after a full day of work is a relaxation, especially when the week has held too much new information to process quickly. Getting from point A to be without worrying about the traffic gives time to slow the mind and let it rest. It is also an interesting place to watch people.

Most of the trip on Friday was uneventful. Having dropped my car off at the shop for my seasonal tire changeover and some brake work, I would have about a 35 minute ride across town to an evening appointment. Securing a seat by a window and near a door, the trip to the appointment was uneventful giving me time to process what I needed to have ready for the meeting.

DSC06619The way home was a different story. My seat was nearer the front close to the seats that lifted up to make room for strollers. Filled and emptied several times on the short trip, I enjoyed watching most of the interactions between parents and children.

The last mother to fill that space entered the bus with a larger family, many of who sat in the available seats further back in the bus. The talk from there was the noisy rise and fall of words when children were in the group. It was a sound I was used to in my classrooms so formed a music of its own.

Modern 2bAs the family reached the stop a large early preteen led them to the front of the bus. He walked over to the mother with the stroller and putting one of his arms in a light lock around her neck bent it forward. Using his other hand to press the muzzle of his blue toy pistol to her neck he said in a “playful” voice, “Get going, bitch.”

Then he just walked on swinging his toy pistol playfully in the air and no one in the group, including the woman who joined the family in leaving the bus said a word or even showed a reaction. My last sight of him as they drove away was of the blue pistol up in the air being waved around as if it was an invisible extension of his hand.

The horror locking my throat at the casualness of his action and the lack of any comment from his family carried me back to the news that had rocked my memories earlier this week. Another act of violence had impacted the lives of some I knew. It was a violence from the past that had come to light. This one had cost a life. It was not the first death of someone within the circle of people close to those in my family. And not every act of violence led to death. My heart was raw with memory as I watched the scenario unfurl.

I struggle to find a mindful center in the midst of the knowledge of the past and the fear of the future for the one I see on that ride. I am frightened for children I see who have such a casual view of violence. I am as frightened for those like the woman whose face did not even react to the words the boy said to her.

Somewhere along the way I developed a moral compass that says actions that choose to harm or degrade another person are wrong. For the most part, I see others who have some understanding of that same standard. What this boy did stood out because though it resonated with some of my memories, it was not a steady part of my world.

DSC01403These thoughts lead me to my mindful gifts for today –the knowledge that I can choose to witness peace in the way I interact with others. I can understand the impact of the past and recognize my fears for the future without them affecting the way I live my todays in relationship to others. With that moral compass I can live each moment true to the center of who I am and stand in support whenever I can for others who do not live in safety.

I must admit, I am also thankful for the gift of prayer because I don’t know what else to do for that woman and the boy who is learning the words and stance of violence. Or for those whose lives have already been changed by the violence of the past.

 

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10 thoughts on “In the Midst of What Is

    1. ljandrie57 Post author

      Yes, it is. Because I have also seen this casual attitude among students at school, many who spend a lot of time playing conflict based video games, I feel that a mindful response to such disregard to violence in children is to raise awareness.

      Reply
  1. In the Stillness of Willow Hill

    We have families like this in the school district I work for. When I see the dreadful messages they send their children, it breaks my heart. But….I am so thankful that each day at school they have a positive and safe place to learn new ways of dealing with the world.

    Reply
    1. ljandrie57 Post author

      I am a teacher so try to instill the message into my students that there are creative ways to deal with conflict that don’t resort to violence. All we can do is do our best to make it that place of safety and positive modeling. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Reply
  2. antonia.a.hurst@gmail.com

    Powerful. Can’t get over the gun thing, but saw the same thing happen once on my doorstep as an older boy pretended to do a gang style killing on my toddler. There have to be limits to play. Something are simply not funny.

    Despite the content, you managed to make this beautiful.

    Reply
  3. annepeterson

    That truly was disturbing. But what I found most disturbing was the fact it didn’t outwardly phase anyone else. Has everyone become desensitized? If so, how sad. Years ago even a stranger could have spoken up and the youngster would have complied. Not so anymore. Very sad.

    Reply
    1. ljandrie57 Post author

      I think it happened so fast that no one could react before he was outside of the bus. But that there was no reaction from his family disturbed me.

      Reply
      1. annepeterson

        I agree. Once I was in a store and a man was berating his wife in a loud belittling way. And she seemed used to it. Later someone remarked to me, “If he does that in public, can you imagine what happens behind closed doors?” That was disturbing to me.

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