A couple of weeks ago, while driving home, something happened that caused me much reflection. While cruising down Highland, I came down to the point on Wilshire Boulevard where the two-lane street merges into one lane. This merging was not the result of “construction ahead” or “accident ahead” signs, but merely the way the road is constructed. Therefore everyone living in Los Angeles, everyone who takes that street knows that Highland turns into one lane at Wilshire Boulevard. But, as is to be expected where lanes merge, there are always those drivers who “pretend” to be oblivious of this merger going as far as ignoring all pertinent traffic signs to circumvent their selfishness. It was such a driver who screeched out of the left lane onto the merging lane with the intention of cutting in line.
Unbeknowst to Miss Speedy, she was on a collision course with an African on the verge of a spiritual awakening. She pulled up beside me and manipulatively (based on her motive I hesitate to call her request polite) begged, “could you let me in, (then the after-thought) please?” Translation, “I really don’t want to wait in line so I am hoping to guilt you into letting me cut in front of you”. I took a deep breath, looked her dead in the eyes and then it happened. That small voice within said, “African, be 100% truthful”. Guilt assuaged I calmly said “NO”. She gathered her guilt from my windshield and moved on to the next car.
Now, I know some of you are cringing because you have been taught to play NICE, but you know what, nice is not truth and truth is not always pretty. What if I had let her in while calling her names under my breath? Or better yet, let her in with a curse laced “God bless you” thrown in for good measure? (Come on Christians out there know what I mean. Some of you do it so often you owe God royalties). All that falsehood would do is re-enforce the hypocrisy that so often takes the place of truth. Truth, people, requires that one be honest with oneself first, and that day I wanted to go to bed with a guiltless conscious so my answer was NO.
What most people fail to realize about this situation is that I “honestly, truly did NOT want to let her in” and I truthfully let she and I know this. But there is an even deeper truth here - PARADIGM SHIFT MOMENT - By asking me she was open to either a yes OR no answer. Asking does not necessarily result in a YES response. NO should be just as acceptable. If you don’t understand this then here is a little exercise - bend a knee and toss up a prayer for a pony right now! See, even God says NO once in a while. In my book, there is nothing wrong with saying NO, but there is something wrong with being nice in an attempt to camouflage a truthful NO!
Question: What if she was a crazed woman with a gun? Then we would not be having this bloversation!