My family is a large Irish Catholic family,except for Mike who happens to be Polish. He is only Irish on St. patty's Day. We are the very essence of the ethnic family. We cook traditional meals during holidays and are a loud, I do mean really loud bunch.
There is an Irish prayer I learned a long time ago that I just love but haven't memorized so bear with me. I have to paraphrase:
Lord, keep my heart close to yours and keep my enemies far from me.
If you can't keep them far away, please turn their hearts.
If you can't turn their hearts then please turn their ankles so I can see them coming.
I love that prayer and I have to admit I have said it more than once when I was hurt by someone.
For the most part I assume the best of everyone I meet, until I have a good reason not to. It's been a good way to handle things for me. Although, I am conscious of bad things and bad people.
I met this woman who told me she was from the place in Texas where the man was dragged to death by a truck full of racists. I remember feeling sickened by that story. I asked her if she ever went back there. She told me quietly how the victim of that horrific story was her cousin and she still had family up there. "Do you still go to see your family?" I asked dumbstruck.
"Yes, we still go. It is where my family has lived for a long time," she spoke calmly and with a slight smile. I had to ask the one question that haunted me."Are scared to go there after what happened?"
She laughed and looked deep into my eyes, grabbing my hand to ease my fears, "Oh, no, I am not scared, dear. There are hateful people everywhere. You just got to keep living your life." Her smile broadened and suddenly I was the one feeling safer and relieved. Certainly if she could forgive and move on then I should be able to. I loved meeting her. I picture her calm, sweet, serene face smiling at me letting me know everything was going to be alright. The way she looked at me and viewed the world was like getting a really great, warm hug. I felt her to my bones.
She is right, of course, there are hateful people everywhere. Most days God has not turned their ankles and you never know when you are going to be sideswiped by one. I have tried to take her view and adopt it as my own. I am trying not to get caught up in the paranoid fear of what might happen and stick to living my life the best way I know how. I think when we worry and obsess about a projected dangerous future, we begin the process of being our own worst enemy. I think that enemy has much more power than one from the outside. Existing day to day waiting for the other shoe to drop is potentially more dangerous than walking through the inner city at night.
My want is to live in the present moment and not get swept up in unnecessary emotional blackmail by my own paranoia. It is what it is. I am old enough to realize there are real scary issues that is exist. But for me I want to stay in the light. I am trying to be aware of my surroundings in a single moment so I don't worry away the time I have.
If, God forbid, my life comes to a tragic end, then let it be while I am living a full and happy life, feeling loved. I may not see it coming, but I won't have wasted my life looking for it, either.