January 9, 2009

Sitting quietly on the metrorail, I was enjoying my book, hoping for no interruptions. Sitting on one of the two seats that are parallel to the train wall, I was right next to the exit doors. The man rolled in loudly and as the doors closed, he backed his chair into the exit space, grumbling about no place to park, directing his complaints to individuals! Someone snapped back at him , and an arguement insued. I didn't look up. Nothing I could do anyway, I just wanted to read!

ButI felt saddened for this man bearing a veteran's badge, the kind worn for the VA Hospital Clinic. The long, greasy, straggly hair hid his face as he mumbled. The man arguing with him was too young to remember the Viet Nam war, nor to understand why the streets are full of that war's outcasts. What a jerk, I thought.
After listening a while I thought, now that's enough! Leave the guy alone! Hmmm.... he must have read my mind for suddenly all was silent as the train moved along the tracks . Then it happened, just as we pulled into Government Center!
You ________pigs! You ________ terrorists! Go back to where you _______ came from!! Get off this train, I'll kill you even if I am in this chair! It happened as he loudly exited backwards off the train. I stood paralyzed, looking in the direction of his shouting. There sitting the back of the train was the object of his wrath!! A woman veiled, dressed in black; beside her in a stroller was a tiny baby. With people pushing to exit the train around me, our eyes locked.
"Are you okay??" My mouth moves but there is no sound. "I am so, so sorry. Do not listen to him, those are lies!" It was my eyes that were swimming with tears, not hers. Her veil moves and I know she is speaking to me too, also without sound.
"It's okay, I'm okay." she says and nods her head to assure me.

"NO! It is not okay!!!" I scream with still no sound shaking my head, nodding to the stroller. "The baby!! Is the baby okay???" How dare he speak that way to that baby's mother. She nods gently, I can't see it but she smiles and the veil moves again, she says thank you, she wants me to know she's okay, and so is her sweet baby.
The warning bell rings and I step quickly through the door, The train pulls away and I am standing alone, watching. wishing I was with her on the train. I turn in anger hoping to find that man in the chair, I'll push him right down the steps, I will, I swear I will!! I don't care what happened to him in the war! My mind races until eventualy I am still. That's hate, that's ugliness, just like the man's. I feel sorry, so sorry...I want to be like the veiled young mom, not like the man.
I ask God to bless that brave woman and I know she is already whispering words of comfort to her wee babe. Then I ask God to send the man a gracious Visitor to tend to his wounded heart, to forgive him ...............and me.

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