Today is January 1st, 2019. It’s my grandmother Maggie Burgon Alldredge’s birthday. She would have been 101 today. We had a fun new year’s eve. last night with my family. We played games, ate Chinese food, (a tradition started by my grandmother Maggie), snacked on crackers and a cheese ball, (a tradition started by my mother Janet Rakich), watched movies (I guess I’ll claim that tradition), skyped with our daughter Maggie who is attending Utah State University, (this was the first year we’ve done that so I can’t say it’s a tradition just yet), and toasted each other at midnight with some Martinelli’s, a tradition started by my wife Jennifer Sidwell Bringhurst.
Today Jen made some chocolate-chip pancakes and we played a couple other games. We recently closed on our house here in Port Angeles, WA, and our realtor gave us some tickets to go ice skating downtown. With Xavier recently having multiple brain surgeries for hydrocephalus, and his incision on his head still a bit tender, we decided it wasn’t a good idea to have him go ice skating. It would have probably aggravated my hip which was replaced a few years ago, so Xavier and I decided to go to a park together instead.
On the way to the park here in Port Angeles, WA, I was having a headache and decided to go through the drive-thru at McDonald’s to get a Diet Coke. As I followed the arrows around the building to the drive-thru, and just about as I was to enter the part where you place your order, a little old white Ford Escort came flying towards me going the wrong way and cut me off turning sharply to go into the drive-thru. She had taken a shortcut, instead of going around the building following the arrows for the drive-thru, she went straight to the drive-thru going the wrong way. As she cut me off and entered the drive-thru she hesitated and decided to go through the left side drive-thru to place her order. They have another drive thru lane to order on the right side, so I took that side. The car in front of her took awhile and I since I had a simple order, I got through before her and she ended up right behind me. For a split second I thought, “Karma.” But then I had something else come to my mind which surprised me. “Love your enemies.” As I looked at her in the rear-view mirror, she was fixing her hair in the mirror. I could see she was probably around 60-years old, alone in an older car, and she was getting McDonald’s on New Year’s Day. Maybe she was on the way to work. Maybe she lived alone. Maybe she had experienced a hard life. I didn’t know her story. But I did something I’ve never done before. When I got to the window, I asked to pay for her food, and told the cashier to wish her “Happy New Year.”
All of a sudden, I had gone from being annoyed by her, to being excited to see her reaction as I slyly looked at her through my rear-view mirror. With my dark-tinted rear window, I could stealthily watch. I was hoping to get a glimpse of her attempting to pay. She approached the window. I could see that she was shocked and confused. She kept looking at the cashier, then up at my car, then back at the cashier. Then she smiled. It was nothing big that I did, but I hope it made her day and started the new year out on a good note.
As I drove away, before she could say anything to me, I felt great! I didn’t even have a headache any more! I had no ill will or bitterness towards her like I had right after she cut me off. I kept thinking about it, “Love your enemies.” I kept pondering this. How much can be learned from this? Can loving your enemies and serving your enemies, erase hate and bitterness?
I see too many people getting angry at others for a variety of reasons. I see a lot of contention on social media. Too many government officials stir people up to anger towards the opposing party, and it happens on both sides. This happens way too often.
This year, I’m going to try and not only love my family and love my neighbors, but I’m going to try and love my enemies. Happy New Year!