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23 September 2012

Lesson Learned

He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them,  “It is enough.”

I have been brooding. I am quiet and sometimes worry that I seem to others as if invisible.  So it is at present.  Here is what my brooding produced:

The Muslims burn, rape, and murder and the American people, in their anger, respond with disparagement of ALL religion, most often in an anti-Christian form. 


Because Christianity poses no physical threat to those who disparage it and its believers.

But the lesson is learned, over and over:  Non-Spiritual persons (that is, most Americans), respond only out of fear and attack only the weak.  Most Americans are restrained because they are cowards, but a few are restrained out of discipline.

God knows, even if no one else does, that was my ex-wife’s method in life, and I remained quiet, passive and, as a consequence, her violence and incessant disparagement never ended.  My honest view was that I could never allow my children to learn that anyone was expendable to me, so I stayed. My ex-wife knew I would never hit her back—and called me a “Looser” because I would not.

Christianity holds no tenet concerning pacifism.  We are not even supposed to be passive.  But I tried to endure and love my ex-wife into treating me and others with respect-- and that did not work, and I lost more than enough, I lost everything that mattered.  I lost my children. Lesson learned.

Likewise, I can persuade, by application of reason (apologetics) a fundamentalist to re-think their judgmental view of others, but I have never been able to persuade an atheist.  My failing, perhaps; but… Lesson-learned.  The Muslims know how to persuade cowards, don’t they?

For your, “Aren't you supposed to turn the other cheek?”  I answer, No, and if I was, I am out of cheeks to turn.  Besides, what right do you think you have to quote my scripture to me as if you know what it means?  The arrogance has gone too fare.

You do not have to believe what I believe and my friends know I never expect that of anyone.  My faith is deeply intimate and has been so since my earliest memories; and I know that such spiritual intimacy is rare, so I have no reason to expect others to share it.

You do not have to respect Christians-- but fear of paying a price for intentional violence and intentional disparagement against them might be a good thing.  It is a lesson which can be learned—if necessary.

Middle-age crisis, perhaps. I walked along the sidewalk and into a fast food restaurant.  Five rowdy and drunk foreign exchange students, German, from what I could gather, were boisterously ordering fifty-two tacos plus burgers which overwhelmed the staff.  I waited fifteen minutes before one of the staff so much as acknowledged my presence, much less took my order.  The man before me gave up and left.  He was small, and elderly.

I'm fifty-two and not all that small-- but felt being loud and young would have gotten me better service.

With my bag of tacos in hand I walked down the sidewalk and was confronted by five Middle Eastern college students walking abreast, all wearing the same blue soccer uniforms.  They looked aside as they neared me, obviously expecting me to step out of their way.  I smiled and said in my low and calm voice, "I swear I will walk right through you." I did not change length of step nor cadence.  Just as I spoke the last word, I got the attention of one, who tried, too late, to dodge me, as I sent him sprawling.

I did not bother to look back. But I smiled bigger, and felt wonderful as I walked on listening to my iPod playing a Clash song--  Old man music.  I am an old man to a twenty-something, and I am also well disciplined.  I know how to shame a bully.  America is full of them.

Walking home a few hours later, the streets were mostly quiet and my mood was quieter, too.  I wondered about having just seen freinds I adored, but who I knew could take me or leave me without much thought.  It is has always been that way for me.  I felt depressed, and thought through the past co-workers who saw me as competition rather than a brother in arms-- someone who would always have their backs.  Secretly recommending a peer for a job I actually had hoped to have, but never letting my friend know of my endorsement nor my personal desires which conflicted with it.   Then I thought of the balance, and how difficult it is to know when to stand up for self and when to just be there for others-- and how few care either way.

My mood was darkening and then, that voice of my beloved Other, filled me, saying, "Now, son, you understand.  You love but are not loved, you are invisible and so not real to those who do not see.  Would you rather be loving or merely loved?  Which is your nature?  You have already chosen, so why the regret?  You cannot be any other way." 

The night was dark, clear and warm.  Instead of drunk boisterous college students, I heard birds nestling in the trees as I passed below.  Lesson Learned.


Evelyn Sue Donahoe said...

This is so achingly beautiful and I am so pleased that you did not step aside. You are NOT invisible to others. You are a gentle, somewhat mysterious, positive force.

cregil said...

You are very kind, Sue.