Yesterday, while watching my fifteen minutes of news, a young man made a comment regarding “our” President Obama. He’s been making such comments daily, inflaming others because it is being taken as racially motivated. I knew within myself I would finally say something and sure enough, I did. I told him to close the door while he was making an attempt to leave. He turned asking what I said and I repeated myself. He then began approaching me in a threatening manner, so I stood to face him, while keeping my hands in my pockets. Not because I had anything to use as a weapon but to keep from using them as a weapon, to not strike first, but to appear as one who’d rather resolve the conflict peaceably. He insulted me by using an expletive, then left.
I later learned the guard assigned that day watched the whole situation and commented to another inmate, “Had he touched Martin, I’da whooped him.” Others assured me there would have been no way he would have been permitted to touch me and later when I went to approach him, with tidings of peace, another inmate misread my intention and said, “Preach, (my nickname) leave it alone”, shaking his head. I assured him I would not do anything to jeopardize my short departure date. However, I did have an opportunity to approach him and tried to resolve what occurred earlier in the day; however, he was filled with so much bravado and anger he could not hear the words of peace I spoke, but I accounted my efforts as a means of resolving the current issue to do away with any future encounters.
This is what we are all called to do. I learned this man had been caught in a homosexual encounter and was brought to our dorm for a change from where he was. Obviously news travel fast within the wall and many were just waiting for any opportunity to hurt him because there is no love lost for, “homos” within the walls. This young man of 21 was fighting his own demons and I got caught up within the battle. We never know what someone is going through so the word of good sense is to try and resolve any and all conflicts we might be having.
My incident was a conflict outwardly which bespeaks of where most conflicts end, but really the origin is within. We, you and I, need to spend more than just a passing moment working on resolving our inner conflicts. This cannot be achieved by watching television, being in the recreation area, concentrating on our next move over a game of chess or playing Spades. We need to seriously find quality time, with added quantities sufficient for handling the absolute crux of the problem about what is going on within ourselves, for only then will we be able to experience true peace which will work its way outwardly to our social and family circles. To walk out of here, no matter the time served, without resolving our issues is an absolute waste of time. For certain, we will be given an additional chance to come back and it does not have to be.
When someone or something gets into your face, before reacting using your ego, first use common sense and try to see where it is coming from, and why, and then make the stand and effort to diffuse it first because once it reacts it will be exponentially harder to resolve it later, often, rather, most likely putting us in places we’d rather not be, and in truth, never had to be if only we’d taken the time to keep our hands in our pockets instead of on each other.
I said to the young man, “I will crush you with my hands left in my pockets,” meaning I did not have to use them to hurt him, but left them there to show him I could beat the real issue while never using them!
Look to resolve all your conflicts in a productive and safe manner.