For years now, I’ve defined myself as a nice little Buddhist guy – sweetly peaceful, wouldn’t hurt a fly. I certainly have that part of me but sometimes another version of Bruce pokes his head above the ground.
One day at school, a group of girls were laughing beside me. I asked “What’s so funny?” The main giggler stepped forward and told me that she had got some ketchup packages, squeezed the contents onto her face, and then lay down, still and silent, waiting for people to find her. I don’t know if she was with family or friends. I just stared at her at first. The fury was climbing up my throat. And then it burst out …
“What? That’s such a cruel thing to do! When someone came upon you, they’d wonder if you were dead. Don’t you see what that could do to a person?” The girl giggled some more. “You can laugh all you want but that was a rotten thing to do.”
Was I yelling? No. Was my voice raised? You bet. And that vein in my neck was probably throbbing. Speaking out in anger is not something I’ve done much in my life but here it was. The insensitivity towards another human being was completely unacceptable to me.
Hmm, I thought. This is new. And it doesn’t feel like a bad thing.
This morning, I walked into the Belmont Diner. There were six guys sitting at the horseshoe-shaped lunch counter. I cheerily said “Good morning.” Silence. A pause. And then me: “Isn’t anyone going to say good morning?” Woh. Was that really my voice?
I realized that two of the fellows had been wrapped in a conversation, but the other four had sat there like stones. The fury had exploded again. Within twenty seconds, people were engaging me in conversation, and my antagonism faded to the background, but the initial spurt was vivid.
So, dear friends, what kind of person am I becoming? Not all peaches and cream, for sure, but I still love peaches and I still love cream. Bruce, antagonistic? No way, I’ve declared. But clearly I have that part too, lurking within.
It seems that more of me is emerging from the shadows – more love, more compassion, more energy, more anger … and more courage? It feels right to embrace it all.