Monday night in Haggin Hall, block D2, I walked out of my room, trashcan in hand, when God intervened. My next door neighbor Welbert, a good friend, was also in the hall. Both into sparring, we often rough house as we pass in the halls. Without thought, I bumped into him with my trashcan. He countered by knocking the can from my hands, lowered his head and advanced toward me with a series of pulled punches: a typical greeting. He then picked me up over his shoulder to which I reacted by wrapping my left arm around his neck securing it with my right, a move Welbert taught me himself. He then set me back on my feet and I sprawled to keep him from lifting me again. Taking me to the floor, Welbert should have had an advantage, but my secure grip kept his head pinned to my left side constricting his movement. Unable to better his position, Welbert tapped out. Immediately I let go, and the rough housing was over.
Welbert stood up with the angriest look, kicked me three times in the back and kicked my trashcan down the hall. Sadly, I am still unsure what caused the outburst. Welbert’s short temper, and stubbornness was my only lead. He then stormed into his room cursing and yelling, “I just worked out! You don’t wrap your arms around my neck!” The two girls, who had been standing near us the whole time, looked as shocked as I was. Shock still fresh, I returned the trashcan to my room and came back. I asked, “What happened man? I let go when you tapped out. My bad. You need to chill out.” All I got was more obscenities and muttering about lifting.
I gave up, went to my room and sat at my desk replaying it in my head. “Was I wrong? Should I have let go sooner? Why did he blow up so easily?” I sat there for quite a while with my music up until my roommate came back. After I explained the situation, we came to the consensus of Welbert’s short temper. Following our talk, I went and took a shower while contemplating the chaos. Even while on the phone later with my girlfriend, my troubles were apparent, causing her to question my disposition. Knowing me rather well, she changed the subject to better my mood. Instead, my focus turned to prom and the slow approaching summer to be spent with her. The problem would not rise again until the following night.
I had just returned from working out when I ran into Welbert, Willard, and the same two girls. Before entering my room, Willard yelled, “Look at the marks on his neck. You left finger marks on his neck. That will get you five years in federal.” To which I replied, “I already told you. We were just playing. I don’t know why he got so mad and why you are talking for him.” All year Willard has teased me about playing ultimate, studying Kung Fu, or anything he sees fit to at the moment. Always loud and obnoxious in the hallways, he is impossible to hold a conversation with and can never take things seriously. This situation was no different and he felt it necessary to make himself mediator. I strongly believe Willard’s presence exponentially complicated the matter by talking about it with Welbert behind my back, and preventing Welbert from approaching me personally about it.
Anger mounting, Welbert walked away yelling, “Why do you have get on Willard and why does everyone think I am hoodlum?” I had tolerated enough and went into my room. I sat down in my desk chair and could not think straight. The world began to spin and my mind would not leave the subject. Leaving problems unresolved has never been something in my nature. Then God came to me. I started praying and asked for His guidance, for Him to answer my prayers. “Am I supposed to be unable to focus? Why is Welbert not bothered? How am I going to do my homework? What should I do?” By now depression had set in and the light was faded; even my girlfriend was unable to reach me through the turbulent waters of the situation.
God’s plan here is subtle yet instrumental. Eventually I sent Welbert these messages: “Why can’t you just talk to me about it? Whenever you want. I just want to understand why you are so mad.” “Can I just talk to you for five minutes? When something bothers me I ask God for guidance and all He keeps telling me is to talk.” Responding to neither, he only told Willard about the first and made fun of me. (Haggin’s paper thin walls allow me to hear bits and pieces.) After a while Willard left and Welbert was alone. I went outside and knocked on his door. No response, just the sound of the television. I tried again and again because I believed that is what God wanted me to do. I then said, “I just want five minutes, I can’t leave until we talk.” I knock again, and all I heard was, “Quit knocking.” Giving up, I sent this last text: “I tried. I am sorry. After that I guess it is up to God.” Unknown to me at the time, I was right. Trying to rid myself of the situation, I went to the shower.
During that shower, I found this paper. He had answered my prayer; He gave me a way to talk. He gave me a paper and reminded me of my strongest belief: Him. I believe He was testing me and that this epiphany was how I will spread His name and seek Welbert’s forgiveness. For all to read: Welbert, I am sorry. I do not care about your short temper, your “hoodlum attitude,” or the fact that you broke my trashcan. I just want to find peace with you again, and be able to talk about God and our lives again. If you never forgive me, then it is God’s will, and for that I am sorry also. This is why I believe in God, and this is why He is my strongest belief. It is not every day I pull something so positive out of such a negative situation. To see through the anger and the chaos was not easy, but something I was meant to do. My personality would not have allowed otherwise. All along He was patiently waiting, and now His radiance is shining through. I believe in the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.