Archive for April, 2009

The Frightening Truth About Spotlights

I hate rain. It always shows up on the days you need the sun the most. Waking up to rain is like answering the door expecting your lover only to find that it’s your annoying neighbor who needs you to watch his dog for the day, and it needs a bath. And it has rabies. That’s how the rain makes me feel.

As I trudge down the sidewalk to my as-of-yet unknown destination, I nod politely to the other pedestrians who have also somehow found the courage to get out of bed and wander out into this grey abyss. Some wear smiles, but for the most part, they all sport the same solemn face that a child has when he’s grown impatient for Christmas day to come. In this case, Christmas is whatever day spring decides to live up to its name. I shove my hands into the pockets of my jacket, lower my head, and press onward.

For better or for worse, I’ve always had the habit of assuming the best of people until they’ve proven me wrong. However, fate would not allow for such an action today. As I continued to walk, I glanced up and met the eyes of a young man beside me. For reasons unknown to me, I felt my stomach turn upside down.

Although the glance lead me to believe I knew this man, I simultaneously felt as though I’d never seen him in my life. My habit of seeing the good in people appeared to shatter before my eyes as I realized that this was “him.” This was the man your mother warned you about. The guy you wouldn’t dare let your sister date. The guy by himself at the bar that made everyone feel a little nervous.

But there was something different about him. I could somehow tell that he didn’t wear all of this on his sleeve. No, his appearance was fine, that of a pleasant man, but something behind his eyes held the truth. This was probably the guy that said “hi” to everyone, gave firm handshakes, and made cool conversation, but slandered, gossiped, and spoke hatefully when he was in private.

Yes, I could see it now. It was as though in the instant our eyes met, he allowed me deep inside – like he was begging me to know the truth. I couldn’t tell if the anger I felt in this moment was because I didn’t have the time to deal with this encounter or if it was because this man’s hidden truths made me sick to my core. He was a man with a proclaimed purpose, but he lusted after other things. His mind was filled with desires to do evil and his heart led him into these very things.

He was surely proud of his accomplishments, and why not? He used his own self-pity as a crutch so that those around him would puff him up with words of pride and satisfaction. Sure, he loved his family and friends, but he couldn’t help but take advantage of their love in order to gain false confidence. It’s not that he didn’t have reason to be confident, but how much easier it was for him to use their pity as fuel for his stove of self-righteousness. My teeth grinded as I tried to look away from his closet of skeletons.

Although he appeared content on the outside, his heart burned with greed. Why would a person with so much be so enraged with desire for the things of this world? Were the blessings that had been so graciously given to his man not enough to satiate his desire for more? No, they were not. Even though I had no right, I wanted to approach this man and demand an explanation for his behavior.

Although I had no desire to feel pity, something inside me told me I should pray for him. “No!” I thought as I turned my head away from his direction in an attempt to make his story disappear. It was no use, the life that had unfolded before my eyes in such a flash would not disappear in the same manner. Did this unknown man even care that his hollow glance had ambushed my already pitiful day? how could I, in good conscience, pray for a man that encompassed everything I despised?

I couldn’t take it. Tears swallowed my vision as I stumbled forward to get away from the man that had ruined the peace in my head. A lump rose in my throat and I felt as if I might fall to my knees if I had to feel this pain much longer. After a deep breath, I swallowed hard and clamped my eyes shut with steel trap force as I let down my guard and prayed for the rotten man beside me.

“God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I lifted my hood over my wet hair as I walked forward, leaving my reflection in the window behind me.