Compassion in the Face of Slings and Arrows

There were a lot of people in the small space that is the popular local pizza joint. It’s the best pizza in town (which is saying something, given our close proximity to the legendary Wooster Street in New Haven).

Great pizza and a July heat wave had folks lining up in the small entryway—hot, hungry and clamoring to be sated. It was not a pretty picture. Nor was the parking lot, where leviathan SUVs attempted to three-point-turn into Oompah-Loompa spaces.

There were two young boys boisterously playing a card game during dinner forcing the salesmen behind them to talk EVEN LOUDER so they could hear themselves, while several important-enough-to-interrupt-dinner phone calls came in, announced by cells phones ringing from purses and shirt pockets around the room, then a woman I know stopped to say hello and purged all of her day’s anxiety onto and across our table.

By the time I finished my meal, paid the bill, and truck-driver-cursed my way out of the parking lot, my skin was buzzing and I was at the verge of tears.

This experience—though exacerbated by the heat and parking accommodations—is not unfamiliar. Not for me, who spends a good deal of her day in peaceful solitude, nor for the great majority who must co-exist on what has become a very small planet indeed. Have we all forgotten our manners?

In the quiet of my home later, I could still feel the frenetic energy of the meal. When I closed my eyes, I could see the pointed beams of energy shooting around the restaurant, like bright traveling arrows piercing through and all around me.

This morning, as I began to write about the experience, I stumbled upon the Archangel Michael. I was, as I recall, looking for an image to accompany this piece. “Beams of light,” I typed in the search box, and there he was: Michael. Bright lighted Michael, with arrows of light and joyful energy coursing from his body.

I suspect it is no coincidence that last night’s dinner conversation included a discussion about angels. Nor that I continued to see great beams of golden light in my mind’s eye long into the night (and still). Angels have a way of doing that—imposing themselves just obviously enough for you to pay attention.

The Archangel Michael, it turns out, is often assigned the task of clearing and shielding us from negative energy and fear. “Call on Archangel Michael when you need courage or strength,” writes Doreen Virtue, author of Messages from Your Angels. “Michael will protect you and transform your fearful mind into one filled with peace. Let Michael be your bodyguard today.”

I have to say, I am not completely comfortable embracing the angel thing. It feels just as fabricated as other schools of thought and rules of religion. But I do appreciate the beautiful symbolism—I appreciate symbolism no matter what form it takes.

So if the charging beams of energy I sensed at dinner overnight become the healing rays of an angel’s presence, surely there is a way to turn the toxic behaviors of my fellow humans into something positive: love, empathy, compassion, joy?

Imagine if I can find a way to change my own experience. To refract those slings and arrows and find peace?

What a blessing to see that family enjoying a meal together.

I am happy these two men made time to socialize at the end of a busy day.

How wonderful it must be to feel so connected to your loved ones all the time.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

I wish I could unburden you from your anxiety my friend.

I do hope you have a slow and peaceful dinner once you park your friggin’ car!

OK…I’m still working on that one. But do you see what I mean?

“You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy,” say the Balinese healer Ketut to Liz in Eat, Pray, Love. “Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy….You can calling the good energy with a smile.”

• • •

Image: Archangel Michael by Marius Michael-George. Please visit his website to see more of his divinely inspired artwork.

8 thoughts on “Compassion in the Face of Slings and Arrows

  1. For another take on angels —
    check out a post I did quite a while ago titled (clue!) Fear Not:
    https://berkshireviews.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/in-other-words/

    It was Madeleine L’Engle at a writers’ workshop who first pointed out what is, in fact, fact:
    whenever people in scripture see an angel (and they do) the first words out of the angel’s mouth are: Fear not!

    Not unsuitable to your night’s experience. And to answer your question (my personal view here): YES, people have almost totally lost their manners. Being mannerly is no longer a value. I don’t even need to point to the political arena. Your own pizza place bears testimony.

    But I did love your italicized reinterpretations! Especially the friggin’ car.
    :-)

    1. Interesting take on angels by Madeleine L’Engle. “Fear Not” is probably a good thing for angels to remind us regularly these days – in our crowded public spaces at the very least!

  2. um – wow – i’m glad you survived all that – let us remember that the desire for good pizza must not be bigger than the parking lot…

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