Surprising Lessons from Spit on the Face
It was just like any other Family vacation.
We were traveling down the highway in our Toyota Sienna. It was brand new (to us) and we were excited that the long middle windows rolled down. We would leave it down even going highway speeds and feel the breeze all throughout the car. Even in the back where I happened to be sitting that day.
My brother thought he was SO smart.
He rolled the long middle window down and spat out.
In his defense, I don’t think that what happened next was intentional, at least not by him. That big, wet loogie went right out the window, into the wind, and right back into the car.
Only it was a couple feet behind where it originated from in the middle seat.
It landed right in the middle of my face.
I remember very clearly the pregnant silence as he wondered what I would do. I wasn’t always the best at reacting well in “sticky” situations like this one. Pausing to consider what just happened, I surprised myself by realizing that he didn’t mean to get me in the face.
So I laughed.
He laughed too and upon realizing what just happened everyone else laughed with us. By this time I had wiped the spit from my eyes, nose, and lips.
That experience will always be vivid in my mind, and not just because of the way his warm, slimy spit felt on my face where it didn’t belong.
My brother will always keep the experience vivid in his mind too.
We both still laugh about it today.
People won’t always remember the little day to day things that we do out of habit. But when we surprise them (and ourselves) by responding with kindness, even if that kindness is as simple as holding in our anger, we can make a remarkably positive difference in their lives.
Just imagine the incredible difference we can make in others lives if we were to proactively offer that kind of surprising kindness.
I wasn’t the best brother then, and I’m certainly not now. Remembering that experience together, however, has brought my brother and me together when life seems to have its way of making us further and further apart.
That day I also learned about the power of what Viktor Frankl meant when he said:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
My freedom and growth were found that day by making an intentional choice between the stimulus of spit in my face and my response.
How is life spitting in your face right now?
How will you choose your response?