I give thanks for the gifts that are mine to give.
I walked into a subway car and sat down
on a bench-seat that had just enough room for me.
I take up a bit more space
Than someone who is not a wide person,
Because the man sitting next to me
made an angry noise and said,
“Well, go ahead and knock into people,
obviously you don’t care.”
Which was weird,
So I watched my reaction.
screw you buddy,it was an accident,
get over yourself,
what do you want from me,
are you making fun of me because I’m fat
is everybody staring at me because I’m fat,i hate you.
And I wanted to ignore him,
And I wanted to curse him,
And I wanted to sink into the floor.
But then I stopped,
I thought about what he was feeling,
it had nothing to do with me.
He was someone at a low ebb,
So fragile that
squeezing into a seat
next to him on the subway
and touching him without noticing
I had done nothing to be sorry for,
I turned to him and I said,
“I’m sorry, it was an accident, I didn’t mean to push you, I hope you can forgive me.”
I didn’t need to be forgiven.
But he needed to forgive me.
“Humph”, he said, “well okay”.
In fact, it gave me the world.
I give thanks for the gift of atonement,*
Which is mine to give so easily.
*From Devora Steinmetz’s “From Father To Son”