Experiences of Life
The Word of Life Project is an initiative for 2012 to not only read the word of life and put it into practice,
but to share the real-life results of doing so. This collection of testimonials is meant to encourage all of
us to pick up the word of life, read it, live it and share it. Stay tuned for an experience submission form!
|Making peace in the post office line|
|Written by JNG|
|Thursday, March 08, 2012|
Lately, I have been trying to really concentrate on living the Word of Life. One day recently I was making my best effort to be sure that no moment would go by when in one way or another I wasn’t living the Gospel.
At the end of the day, I had to make a special trip to the post office. It was getting late, but that particular branch stayed open into the evening. I was kind of tired—being that it was the end of the day—and I was feeling uncomfortable, especially in my back, where I have chronic pain. It was very hot and uncomfortable in the post office and, to make things worse, so many people were waiting that the line almost went out the door. This was going to be a long one. I wiggled around, trying to find a comfortable standing position. As I was fidgeting, I unzipped my coat and all my letters dropped on the floor.
I started to think of the Word, and said to myself, 'you have to live it, not just waste this time in line being uncomfortable." So I thought of focusing on living that month’s Word of Life— "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." At that moment I was trying to do the will of God, which was to stand in line…for however long it would take. Outside,it began to get dark.
At that point I began to overhear what the three very muscular and rather tough-looking young women behind were saying. I usually smile at people when I wait in line, but something told me not to turn around and smile—just to listen. I heard some unusual comments: "Look at her! She looks uncomfortable… Maybe she thinks we’re scary. We should just beat her up…" They were saying a lot of things like this, and their language was rather coarse, to say the least. I began to feel uneasy, and then it hit me… They were talking about me! I was taken completely off guard. That was all I needed, to add fear to the physical discomfort I already was feeling.
I thought, what do I do now? I can’t run away. I could tell someone, but that would be worse…. And in that moment, as I felt myself on the verge of panic, a great sense of peace came over me and I knew for certain what to do: Live the word. OK…I can do that. In a flash I thought, “Blessed are the peacemakers…" "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me…" I turned around and with all the love I could muster, I looked in the eyes of the apparent ringleader and said, "Excuse me…Are you talking about me? I am not afraid of you…I choose to be here."
What happened in that moment I will never forget. The “ringleader” was so shocked, after what they had been saying, to see someone simply turn to her with a smile, that her expression changed from a tough, somewhat fearsome look to relief. For a brief moment a beautiful smile flashed across her face. I proceeded to tell the three of them the plain truth—that it was too warm and my back was giving me problems from standing. That’s why I was wiggling around. I said it with love, so much so that one of the three said, "Oh yeah. I saw you drop the letters before. You were just probably trying to find a good way to stand while waiting and holding all that mail."
I felt an indescribable sense of joy and freedom—not only because I was not going to get beat up, but even more because living the word brought about peace and stopped them from doing something bad. One of the girls needed help finding a form…I guessed that the other two had come just to wait with her while she was going to fill it out. I tried to suggest where they might find what they needed, and they looked.
I felt peaceful. At that point, it would have been the same for me if I had to wait for ever. I had lived the Word, and living it had changed everything. I was almost sorry when, after a half hour had passed, the three of them got tired of waiting in line and decided to leave. I almost wanted to say, "Good bye…Hope to see you again!" But I didn’t …
The Word saved me that day, and I know that in my life it will save me many more times, and in many ways.