“They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate countless worlds, and we fall back. Not again! Not this time. The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther! And I will make them pay for what they have done!”
The quote is from Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Start Trek: First Contact. And me–in my head.
I’ve been stressing lately over the bullying of my friend Margaret, preparing for a battle that seemed winnable but not without casualties. On an internal level, I’ve been meditating, visualizing, and spreading the light for a peaceful resolution. On a rational level, I’ve been promoting a stance of “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” On a gut level, I let my past override all of my peaceful thoughts and reverted to living in fear. I’d been there, done that and I carry the scars of the bad guys’ wins. I guess that’s why it’s easy for me to shift into defensive mode, but I know that I can’t let my fear consume me. In the midst of my stress, change occurred.
I’ve found that subtle shifts can be surprising. Have you ever noticed that? You find yourself embroiled in some seemingly untenable situation, gird your loins for battle, lock and load your cache of snide and witty comebacks, and walk into the fray loaded for bear only to find Hello Kitty waiting to greet you.
It’s surprising. It’s shocking. It’s disconcerting to say the least after all of the tedious preparations and hard work. You’ve rehearsed exactly what you’re going to say (if he says this, I’ll say that; if she does this, I’ll do that); you are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are about to meet Godzilla in the flesh and the battle will be to the death–or at the least to total annihilation on an emotional level. “I will go down fighting!” becomes your mantra echoed by “I can do this!” You are psyched and ready to go to war for your rights and your dignity. Shields up! Set phasers to stun!
And then all of that flies right out the window when you’re greeted not by your mortal enemy but by a kitten with a smile and the shocking words, “Good morning! How can I help you ?”
Crap! Now what? I hadn’t prepared myself for this! Niceness is what I’d secretly hoped for, prayed for, wished for while doing my deep-breathing exercises to relieve the stress in my heart and gut. This is what I’ve wanted all along: civil communication. Margaret and I crossed the battle lines on Friday and were treated with respect and kindness. We came away with a renewed sense of peace and calm.
Apparently, there’s been a change of heart for those people who were determined to make Margaret’s life a living hell, for the people who have bullied and taunted and spread rumors about her for over a year. I don’t know how it happened or when or where or why. But like me, I suspect there are several other people involved in this debacle who are experiencing the same sense of relief I’m feeling. It’s very hard to live a happy life, to maintain thoughts of peace and joy while carrying a big stick. It’s exhausting, actually. Somewhere, someone has decided to lay down the stick, walk away from the battle, and try to live in peace.
The fight to end the bullying may be over for now and as hard as it’s been to deal with, I’ve been reminded of a few valuable lessons:
- Standing up for others is always the right thing to do.
- Peaceful resolutions can happen–even when you least expect them.
- Finding peace within me sometimes requires conquering old fears by allowing myself to feel the anger and move through and past it.
- The desire to be “all in” regardless of my fears is sometimes enough to create a shift in me, in my heart and in my own beliefs.
I’m not sure how this works in others or if I’ll ever know what caused the shift, but there has obviously been a change of heart. At least for now. At least for today. My own heart has opened in gratitude for a battle unfought. I am thankful for this day.
I pray it lasts.