Monday, November 22, 2010

LB

Today I am inspired.  Today I am in awe.  Today I was completely floored, and had to share it with you.  First, let me give you the background.  LB (he gave me permission to share his story, but for the sake of privacy I won't share his name) has always had a positive spirit.  He is kind and friendly, a truly gentle man.  A few weeks ago, we found out that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  My immediate thoughts were "oh no, poor LB," and "but he's such a nice guy" (not that it would be ok for a jerk to get cancer).  When I met with him that day, he told me he felt blessed to have such a great team looking out for him, and we talked about his next steps.  Today, he came in again, and told me about an incident that occurred a few days ago.  

LB had to go for more tests, to see if the cancer had spread.  On the way home, he was sitting on a crowded train looking at pictures when an unpleasant woman came to sit next to him.  She eyed the small empty space in which she could not fit, and suggested that LB "make [him]self smaller" so she could sit down.  (Not that it matters, but LB has always been a petite man, and has grown thinner in recent weeks.)  She then sat down, more on him than next to him.  LB said nothing, and continued looking through his pictures.

The woman soon began shifting and turning in her (his) seat.  LB turned and calmly asked what she was doing.  The woman, likely embarrassed at the situation she'd put herself in, turned all her negative energy towards LB.

     "What's wrong with you, you don't want a woman to touch you," she yelled.  "You must be a sweet man." She was not referring to his kindness.

LB said nothing, and remained focused on the pictures.  She then leaned over him some more, to see what held his attention away from her.

     "Just what I thought," she continued.  "Lookin' at pictures of men.  A sweeeet man!"

Again LB said nothing.  He continued looking through pictures, and soon came upon one of him with his arm around a woman.  This too seemed to upset the woman sitting on/next to him.  She got even louder, criticizing him now both for being homosexual and a race traitor (the woman in the picture was white, LB is black).  Whichever was the case, she felt he deserved her wrath.

Still, LB said nothing.  By now, the woman had drawn an audience.  Her friends laughed with her while strangers looked on in shock.  They could not believe he did not say anything to stop this woman's abuse.  I could not believe, as he was telling me the story, that no one else did.  The woman continued berating him, calling him every name she could think of.  She even said that LB was the Devil himself.  

Finally, LB said something.

     "Do you know what's in my bag?" he asked.
     "Huh?"
     "Do you know what I have in my bag?" he repeated.
     "What?"
     "Do you know what weapon I have in my bag?  Do you know what I can do to you with it after you talk to me this way?"

The woman turned to her friend, who had stopped laughing.  She looked to her friend to "do something," but he stayed quiet then too.

     "Look at me," he said.  "Do you know that I am coming from my doctor's office?  Do you know that he told me I'm dying?  I have no consequences: there is no jail; there is no tomorrow."

The woman turned away from him, not knowing what to say or do.

     "Look at me," he repeated.  "If I were the Devil, we would be rolling on the floor right now.  You come at me with hate, but I come to you with love.  Think about this when you go home, when you are all alone, not showing off for your friends.  Look at yourself: feeling bad, filled with hate.  Listen to my accent, listen to yours: we come from the same place.  Back home, we don't act like this.  We learn respect.  What difference does it make?  Black, white, homosexual - we are all the same.  We have love for one another.  You come at me with hate, but I love you.  Look at me." 

The woman turned to look at him, tears streaming down her cheeks.  She sat quietly until a seat became available further away, and she moved there.  When the train arrived at her station, she turned to LB, told him to have a good day, and asked him to "take care of [her] friends".  

As my husband said when I came home and told this story, "LB is my new hero."

If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If not, well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!

2 comments:

  1. I'm crying and there are no words...

    Love you,

    Julie

    P.S. Tell LB I love him too. <3

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  2. As soon as I came home I started preparing food for tomorrow, wrapping gifts and making gift bags (thanksgiving/birthday party.) I finished around 11 and thought even though I'm tired I'll read one blog entry and click the like button for facebook. I got sucked in and one blog just wasn't enough, so worth putting off sleep. Powder and paint is my favorite so far and I can't wait for you to post more. I even read the one about the Jets even though I loathe sports. =]

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