Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Mantra: Have Courage

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: There is never a wrong time to do the right thing

"Have courage in the face of adversity to travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."

October is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it- the way the air feels cool and crisp, the pumpkins and wood burning stoves and that feeling you get of adventure and unlimited possibilities. October also just so happens to be home of my favorite holiday, Halloween. 

A few years back a friend invited me out with her and a group of others to a haunted house. Haunted houses are one of my most favorite October traditions and something I never pass on. This particular one was being held at a church, which seemed only slightly odd at the time. That didn't throw me off much, as I saw lines of people out front to get in. I figured it had to be amazing with that many people. Plus, the website (albeit vague) gave statistics for the year before, such as: 98 people left the building screaming, 1 mother took her child and ran, 3 people passed on and so forth. It sounded terrifying and awesome.

Upon arrival we were ushered into a circle where zombie like creatures surrounded us and told us of our sins. It was more annoying than scary, but I figured the church had to slide in their say before the real fun began. As the night continued things got very uncomfortable and less Halloween like with each new room they moved us to. One showed a gang violence scene, where a teenage was shot. Another had children locked in cages - real children, toddler aged- covered in blood. Another room showed a drinking and driving scenario, where a wall dropped out from behind us and some of us almost went down with it several feel below, while the worst room to my memory played videos of abortions happening. Real, live abortions.

If you've never been to a haunted house let me fill you in on the details of how things should go down. Normally, a haunted house has ghosts and zombies and people screaming at you to try and scare you. You usually enjoy your experience, whether it be scary or not, because haunted houses are fun. Period. This was not fun nor was it a haunted house.

After the Abortion Room, I was ready to get the hell out of there. The problem was, these people wouldn't let us leave. They blocked the exits and when you asked them how and when you could leave, they kept saying it was almost over. Each time they said it I got madder and madder because each time they said it was a lie. I'm all for educating people on life and choices and options and everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but this was wrong in every way possible. This was innocent people being tricked and forced into seeing things that, quite frankly, were wrong. Who locks young children in cages and covers them in fake blood and makes them cry? Wrong. So wrong. 

We were moved into the chapel where people were chained to mini stages, screaming at us about adultery, drug abuse, murder, etc. It was loud and irritating and unnecessary. Then they led us down a hallway to a pitch black room where they made us line up against the wall. I had no idea what horrible thing this room held, but I was not happy. Neither was my friend. Or anyone, for that matter. When they flipped on the lights we found ourselves in a small, empty room, with the preacher or minister or cult leader (as I like to think of him now) blocking the door to leave. He had two ushers (or cult followers) next to him, lined up like body guards to prevent our escape.

Right when I thought it couldn't get any worse, he told us to clasp our hands and pray with him to save our souls from the fiery pits of hell. 

Maybe some of you have seen The Avengers. You know the Hulk, how he gets angry and then blows up in a fit of anger? Well, that was me about 37 seconds after this happened.

Now, I'm not ever going to tell anyone what to believe. Ever. I have my religion and I'm happy with it. Which means I fully expect that no one ever tell me what to believe or how to pray or force me into anything. Ever.

I'm not sure how this happened, but before I knew it I was 5 inches from the creepy cult dude's face, telling him that he best be letting us out of the room before someone had to say a prayer to save him from me. He didn't seem too phased by that, as I'm sure someone else had to have snapped by that point, so he didn't move. He stood there blocking my exit. So, I pushed him. And I kept pushing until I got my hand on the door knob, which turned out to be locked. That's right- they locked us in with them.

Maybe you also recall how the Hulk gets angrier and angrier each time more people try to shoot him and take him down. Well, once my hand felt that locked door, I completely snapped. I honestly can't remember all the things I yelled out or the threats I made, but that door was unlocked 2 seconds later. I wasn't done though. These crazies had forced me and my friends to stay when we had asked to leave multiple times and I sure as heck wasn't sticking around a minute longer. 

I marched out into that hallway yelling and cussing, ready to punch anyone in the face who wouldn't let me leave, and threw back some doors into a giant room filled with people crying and praying, with a crazy cult person kneeling by them. I realized this was the room we would have been taken to next, the room where they try to convert you. 

Obviously, no one expected to see me, but after a minute something happened. As I kept on my rampage, letting them know that the God I knew would help me kick their asses if they laid one single hand on me, other people lined up behind me to leave. Once I was outside I paused to see just what was going on and saw dozens of people had followed me out. No one wanted to be in that horrible place. No one.

Because I had lead us to the front of the church, where the new victims stood lined up and waiting, the "body guards" tried to stop me. In the loudest voice I could possibly muster, I went over every single detail of why they should be shut down and what they had done wrong. As I proceeded to lecture them on their horribleness, people continued to file out from where I had just come from. The folks lined up looked more and more concerned and some started to leave. More "body guards" came out to try and get me off the lot. I stuck around as long as I could to make them just as uncomfortable as they made me. 

The next day I called the news station to report these maniacs and found out many, many people had called before me and that the cops had been out there several times. For some reason they'd never been able to shut them down, but I can tell you the next year I didn't see any advertisements for their "haunted house".

I didn't write this post to tell you how awesome and Avenger like I am, because I'm not. I'm sure I looked completely insane that night, but that was one of the few times in my life I can say I stood up and did the right thing when it needed to be done. It certainly wasn't my intention to have a mini-revolution that night. All I had planned on was getting my friends and I out of there. I never expected so many other people to follow. 

The next time you feel something strong in your gut, your instincts telling you that it's the right thing to do, do it. It may be terrifying and strange and who knows what kind of a commotion you'll cause, but who knows how many other people are silently wishing for someone to stand up and do something. Who knows how many people you might help. 

Doing the right thing is always worth it. Always.

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