By Katherine Silvan
Dear guy at the gym,
I don’t know your name or anything about you, except who you hate. Not because I’m interested but because you’re so LOUD I can’t not hear you. Oddly, I’m writing to apologize to you…but also share some advice, which I admit you haven’t asked for so I’m taking a bit of license here – and forgive me for that as well. If you would, please hear me out.
I have despised and judged you for a long time. I’ve moved away when you’ve come near. I’ve shouted swear words at you in my head. I even have a mean nickname for you. So, here’s where I ask you to forgive me and offer my apology for all of these things.
You see, one day a member of our gym who is blind was turning the corner out of the locker rooms. I saw her and thought “she’s got this” (wouldn’t want to offend her by assuming helplessness). And you saw her and dropped everything, went to her side, took her elbow and guided her out. Now, even if she didn’t need that, it had to feel good. Positive attention is always good and always makes a positive impact.
In that moment, I had to consent – you were a better person than me. You went immediately to right action while I maintained passivity. And I realized – you’re ok. You are who you are. You’re just running your program as I’m running mine (no gym pun). And in that moment I switched from hate to love. So thank you for that, sincerely.
Now, here’s where I offer some advice – it’s ok, it’s for me to hear too.
Shut the f**k up! Stop ranting about the news every day! We’re all tired of it. And by we, I mean the world. The world needs ALL of us to stop picking sides and pitting ourselves against one another. No matter what station you listen to, it’s all a bunch of bull. And all it does, day after day, is keep us from uniting and strengthening in love – which is all that matters at the end of the day.
I noticed you didn’t ask the blind woman for her political affiliation. It didn’t matter in that moment, did it? Would you have refused to help her if she had been on the other side? I doubt it. So, please, be that guy – the one that stepped up without forethought to help. I’m working on it too. Focusing my energy on shedding the skin of judgement, separation, hate. It’s a daily practice.
Your anonymous friend at the gym
“God have mercy on us so we may have mercy on ourselves. God, have mercy on us so we may have mercy for the world.” Rob Silvan