When I arrived at work yesterday morning, I backed into my usual parking space in the lot about a block down the street from our office building. I normally try to park near the big light pole, since it makes it easier for me to get out, and also so I can keep my front bumper from sticking out into the drive lane. (I drive a full size, extended cab pick-up truck).
As I eased into my usual spot, I noticed I got a little close to the car behind me, but my rear bumper never once touched his. When I got out, I checked to see how close I got and noticed that I had come within less than two inches from that car’s rear bumper. I’ll admit, I was somewhat impressed with myself. I actually thought to myself “Dang, I’m good!” and I continued on to the office.
After work, when I got to the parking lot, the driver of that car was waiting for me, it seemed. He was in the process of writing a note to leave on my windshield. He saw me walk up and put my stuff in my truck.
“Is that your truck?”
“Did you see this?” Pointing to the space between our vehicles.
“See what?” As I walked around to take a look.
This is when I noticed the two inch space between our bumpers was now two feet.
*** Please note that these parking spaces are in the middle of the lot, and both vehicles were facing outward, toward the drive lanes (He was backed in also, from the other side). At no time was anyone "blocked in". Which is why he was able to move his car forward by two feet.***
He held up his hand with his thumb and finger about one inch apart and said,
“You parked this far from me!”
“Look what you did!” He pointed to a small indentation in the black plastic piece of his bumper, just under the license plate. “This mark lines up with the hitch on your truck!”
It didn’t look that way to me, but I kept my mouth shut.
“Well? What do you intend to about it?”
“Nothing. I didn’t do this” (Remember, my bumper never touched his this morning).
He stared at me quite angrily, with his right eye, big and round and bulging out with his left eye sort of squinting. He seemed to be trying to look at me as menacingly as possible.
I almost snickered. I didn’t get upset, or return his anger. I did, however, remember an e-mail a friend sent me earlier in the day, titled The power of one sentence! It said,
God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor.
The man said, “Be more careful next time!” And he got in his car and he left.
I guess it worked. I just let the power of God consume me and keep me from anger and keep me from harm. And I refused to be bullied into admitting to something that I didn’t do.
That whole scenario reminded me of the stories my grandfather used to tell me about how he dealt with bullies when he was young.
When he was a small boy, my granddad lived in Washington State and lived near a lake. One day, while playing with his brand new little red wagon, the local bully came by and told granddad to push him around in the wagon. So he did. Faster and faster he pushed that bully in the little red wagon. The bully enjoyed himself so much that he never noticed when granddad pushed him down the length of the dock and off the end of it into the lake! Then ran home to tell his dad how the bully had taken his new little red wagon and tossed it into the lake. The dads met and the bully got into trouble.
Another time a few years later, granddad was being picked on by this same bully, only now the bully was bigger and “fatter”. Once he’d had enough, granddad popped him one and took off running. Naturally, the bully chased him.
So granddad jumped over the fence and ran up to the top of the hill and jumped over that fence. Once the bully climbed over the fence at the top of the hill, granddad climbed over it and ran down the hill and climbed over the fence at the bottom.
This continued for awhile. Every time the bully caught up and climbed over the fence, granddad would climb over and run up, or down, to the other fence. Finally, as the bully, completely exhausted and out of breath, got to the top of the fence at the top of the hill, granddad turned around and hit him as hard as he could.
Of course, that bully went down for the count. That particular bully never bothered granddad much after that.
Granddad told me these stories to make a point. And that is that you don’t have to be bigger, or stronger, or faster, or tougher than the bully, you just need to be smarter than him. And with bullies, this usually isn’t too difficult. Keep your cool and use your head.
It sort of reminds me of what Jesus did for us at the Cross. The worst bully of all, the devil, thought that he had won. But on the third day, Jesus got up and walked out of that tomb. The devil fought dirty – Jesus didn’t. Jesus is smarter.
Jesus beat the devil with a big, ugly stick. And He did it all for you and for me.
You just can’t keep a good man down.