Living in Love Award: Submission: Little Moments of Astonishment

The Fourth submission for the Living in Love Award comes from MindMindful. The first step to earning the Award is producing one Random Act of Kindness and blogging about it. Please check out Shala’s blog, for her first submission.

Little Moments of Astonishment


I have a dangerous habit: I intervene in violent situations. This is particularly so when one of the persons involved is especially vulnerable. For example, I would NOT be so likely to intervene if two young men, who seem equally drunk, were swinging at each other. But – A young man on the ground being beaten by two other men: check. An elderly bag lady being harassed by a younger man on a darkened street: check. A woman being dragged out of a moving vehicle by an angry, intoxicated man: check. And, the day I witnessed a woman being strangled in a parking lot: oh, indeed! And I may have saved that one’s life.

Now, these are situations that even the armed police do not like to be involved in. With emotions so high, the possible use of intoxicants, the potential for weapons, & desperation hovering, any kind of violent assault can escalate to killing in the blink of an eye. And, I suppose it’s pretty much a given that the people involved, assaulter & assaulted, are not really in control of themselves at that time. Anything could happen. And when it does, people become statistics.

But I forget all that. I forget that I’m petite, & not very strong. I forget that the danger to the one who intervenes is very very high. I forget that I could die. I run into the fray, the righteous desire to be of help to the vulnerable surging through me & I feel myself ‘pumping up’, much like the Hulk as he morphs from Ordinary Person to Super Hero. It’s always been the case that I’ve been able to command their attention somehow, usually muscling in between the people, & the situation has devolved into something less-than-potentially-death-dealing. I think I catch them so much off guard, that a little moment is created where surprise, perhaps actual astonishment, stops the heated emotional content & everyone is able to de-escalate.

Afterwards, I am reduced to vigorous trembling & dry heaves from the adrenaline that is still pumping. And, usually all the people involved in the violence just kind of move on & go away. Well, I guess this is what they do; I’m never really able to discern the details at that point. Still under the effects of the adrenaline, I think. When I do walk on, the lights are brighter, my stride is stronger; I know why people become adrenaline junkies.

And further afterwards, I’m always left with these two sets of thoughts — One is based in self-beratement —> I could have been killed! To put myself in such a situation — how stupid is THAT?!? And, the other is based in a sad sense of wonder —> how is it that no one else around (when there was someone) was willing to jump in & help?!? ((Only one time was if different: When the soccer team I played on was coming out of a restaurant together after our game. At that time, several of them did also intervene.))

I used to become angry with the others who may have witnessed a violent assault & did not help, but I don’t anymore. Can’t blame them really — it IS completely counter to a rational sense of self-preservation to put oneself in harm’s way, especially on behalf of a stranger. But I have an over-developed sense of The Golden Rule: I see most others, especially when they’re in trouble, as my poor little self. And I know I would need help, in such a situation.

So — these are acts of kindness, I guess. And they are assuredly random, as their appearance can’t be predicted. It is my fervent wish that Love shall always pervade all our thoughts & behaviors. When it doesn’t, I will try to bring in one of those little moments of astonishment, to give time for Love to, hopefully, find its way back in.