I held the moon close last night, it was both a friend and an enemy. I loved it and despised it, held it close and tired to shut it out.
I didn't have a good day yesterday and the happenings of the day invaded my thoughts and stole my sleep away from me.
In my life, I try and surround myself with pleasant things. Pleasant people, pleasant children, likeminded women. By doing so, I create for myself and my family, a world that is good and wonderful, kind and optimistic. This treats us well and helps us to feel good and wonderful, but it also makes me forget the reality of life every now and again. The reality that this world is NOT full of kind people-infact, it is a world full of sin and abounding in hate, disrespect and let's not forget-lunacy.
Most often when we are out and about, the children are dressed nicely, I am friendly, and we are met with smiles, compliments or friendly conversations. I tend to give people too much credit and too much trust...so it is that much more surprising when I am reminded that some people are not WORTHY of that trust and that special care STILL needs to be taken to protect onesselves and ones loved ones.
Yesterday my optimism was shattered and that reminder came a bit more forceful than I would have liked.
I won't go into all the details, mainly because all night last night I relived it...and I don't care to again.
Basically, while shopping at Walmart we had sat down at a table in the McDonalds within Walmart to eat our lunches when we were followed and approached by a strong looking, tall black man (between 20 and 30). At first he said, "What lovely children you have." I thanked him kindly and continued on in my tasks.
After I had responded kindly, he took it upon himself to start to suffocate me with his words-his presence. I tried to close the conversation-he asked where my husband was.
He got food and sat at the table right next to us-just an arms distance from my Panda.
Inwardly I groaned, knowing this was going to be a BAD lunchtime.
He listened to my every word and responded-even rushing up to get me ketchup when I told Corynn I was going to get some ketchup.
I said, "Thank you-but no. I would rather get it myself." He became disgruntled that I wouldn't take the ketchup he had gotten me and started getting smart and obnoxious. He asked if he was making me nervous.
I asked him if I might be able to have a peaceful lunch with my children. He got more brazen and mean. Oddly though, one minute he was mean-the next he was telling me what a great mother I was. Almost as if he was schizophrenic or bipolar or something. Knowing that he just wasn't 'right' made me all the more concerned at what he might do-or be capable of. It wasn't long before things had escalated and he began shouting at me.
Andrew and Corynn were so curious-looking at the strange, loud, nasty man. The man spit out "That I had better turn my son's head around" because he didn't want to be gawked at.
I told him that Andrew was a year old.
He threatened that he would hurt him if Andrew looked at him again.
I was literally holding Andrew's head looking toward me, mentally evaluating what I should do.
Should I leave the McDonalds and shop? That wouldn't be wise-he may follow me and then there wouldn't be as many witnesses and employees around.
It would take a lot to pack up the children, my food and belongings and move to another table-and I DIDN'T want to leave my children next to him. Or my purse. For ANY length of time.
If I left the store entirely, he would probably follow me out to my car and who knows WHAT would happen then.
A woman at a table behind me, discreetly left, and sat back down-she met my eyes and smiled a reassuring smile. I saw a Walmart tag around her neck. Still this man was hounding me. Threatening me. I was shaking-that nervous shiverring I do-but trying not to appear scared (for the childrens' sakes as well as not to reveal any weakness on my part).
I told him that if he wasn't going to be leaving, I would be changing my seat-to get away from him.
He got up and said he was leaving...yelling that I was racist. Twisted. All sorts of names and accusations.
I was offended, of course, that he would accuse me of that, but relieved he had left.
My relief was short lived because only a moment later he returned. He got MORE food and sat back down. Started in on me again. I said simply, "I am not a racist. Your color does not offend me at all-it is your lack of social etiquette. Your social skills are overwhelming. You are accusing and you are making what was supposed to be a nice calm lunch into a nightmare. THAT is what offends me. YOU offend me-not your color."
The woman got up again and returned to her seat, telling me she had phoned the manager the first time. This time the manager was on his way and he had called the police, who were also on the way.
When he heard that, he left-but not without shouting on his way out...things about me and my children. About how the trashy white woman (me) OWNS the Walmart and hw self righteous I am to think I can tell him to leave. He disappeared into Walmart.
The manager came to me then and told me that he had been there from 3:00 am (it was 11:30 by now) and that they had found him, police were coming and he wanted me to stay here because the police would want to talk to me.
When the police got there, they found him and escorted him to the front entrance and waited with him while he got a cab. But that awful man-out of two entrances-he chose the one with windows into McDonalds. Not only that, but he chose the only seat on the bench that was positioned where he could see me.
The whole time the guy stared at me-and smirked. Whenever the police were chatting to someone else...he did crude signs and just antagonized me.
It was awful.
We didn't end up leaving the McDonalds until 12:30...almost three hours all in all. Thankfully, I had crayons and pens along with some paper in my diaperbag. That and stories, and ice cream occupied the children so they weren't going insane. I sure was.
I am so very thankful that the Lord kept us safe throughout that whole ordeal. That man was a lunatic and people who are so imbalanced can do some REALLY stupid, dangerous things.
That man could have taken me if he wanted to. He was certainly larger and stronger.
He could have grabbed Andrew-my baby boy was sitting in a highchair just an arms length away.
He could have had a gun.
He could have had the cab return and found me again after the cops had left.
Who knows what may have happened, but the Lord protected us.
So-from the time that awful man left the Walmart for his cab to this moment now, sitting here as I type, my thoughts have been only on the safety of my family. My mind created nightmares last night-though my eyes were open and sleep elluded me...I could still see so vividly things going even worse than they did.
I will go on expecting the best from people but I will no longer assume the best. This world is full of good AND bad...and the bad is not just on the news. It is all around us. We are not exempt from the dangers wrought by sinful men.
Right now, at this moment, I struggle with my perceptions of people. I don't want to view everyone as dangerous and live my life in fear. On the other hand, I certainly don't want to be so naive as to think my family and I will stay safe if we just mind our own business. I am already struggling with the idea of going back to that particular place without Matt...but I don't want to be paralyzed by fear, either.
Anyway. My mind and heart is wavering a bit today. I don't really know WHAT is the best way to react. Maybe it is lack of sleep. Or maybe it is because my eyes have been opened just a little bit further as to how unsure life here on earth is.
Each moment is planned...but not by me. I am just along for the ride.