Mote Meet Eye

It's become a cliche. When we're young we do a lot of crazy, stupid and, often, dangerous things...From drugs to all things sexual, there are rarely any boundaries to the young, but if we're lucky enough to survive and maybe have children so many of us try to forget those days and become the opposite of who and what we were and try to steer the next generation of us away from our mistakes.

Which usually only pushes them into the arms of our errors.

My mistakes literally fill file cabinets with report after report about incidents where I've pushed the law to the limits, sometimes actually stepping over that line and finding myself in front of a judge that really wanted to make an example of me, wanted to toss me into a cell and toss away the key. That's how I learned about the files about me. The lawyers brought them in and stacked them on their desk in three piles as I was escorted into another room to wait while they argued my future...For hours. This was the first time and I was eventually allowed to leave after I signed a boatload of papers. There were other times, including a military court where I signed even more papers...

...Lots of secrets. Lots of experiences. Lots of living. Only a few know the whole story, only a few ever wanted to know. The ones that needed to know refused to hear. A very long time ago I married, the reasons for this no longer matter, the mistakes, everything that led to that decision are all history, but when I tried to explain my past, to unload that part of me which needed to be heard, was blocked. I guess I thought I'd have time later on but as the days turned into years I discovered I would never be able to share those secrets because they were never going to be accepted, not in that relationship. Not then, not now, not ever.

So there's  a great many stories which will never be told to children who don't have anything to do with me any more and when this life is gone, well, it'll all be too late then and those who know my history are slowly leaving this earth. 

Here's one of those stories.

The best sermon I ever heard wasn't in a church, it was in a little office with a guy holding a knife in one hand and a bottle of booze in the other as he held a group of us hostage while he ranted and raved, angry at a world that had rejected him, had tossed him into prison and then threw him back into a world he no longer understood. I was a volunteer at a crisis hotline for drug abusers along with about six others working the night shift, most of them being religious types. This was in Casa Grande and the night shift was usually pretty quiet, leaving everyone a lot of time to read their Bibles, talk religion, listen to 'Christian Rock'...One of them would always go into the back and meditate for hours on end, something he was doing the entire time this event was happening. I don't know what I was thinking when he walked in, I remember looking up and seeing him in his long green coat, the bottle of booze in a paper bag and the knife in his right hand about two seconds before everyone else saw the same thing.

He started yelling as everyone stood and began shouting. I leaned back in my chair and watched as he moved around the room. He saw the Bibles and started laughing. He set the bottle down and picked one of them up and looked at it. 'You guys Christians?' He asked. The night manager said they were and asked if he needed help of some kind. The man tossed the Bible back down and stared at the guy. He began quoting the passage about the prostitute about to be stoned when Jesus stood and protected her and changed the final quote to 'Any of you who hasn't fucked her can throw the first stone!'

You could have heard a pin drop in that room.

I chuckled and stood up. I've always followed my intuition, good or bad it was usually the right thing to do. I moved around the counter and moved toward the guy. 'C'mon. I'll walk you back to your room at the hotel.'

'How do you know where I'm staying?'

'Lucky guess.' I shrugged. 'You just got out of prison, didn't you?'

'Yeah.'

'You really want to go back?'

He seemed to waver at that. I held out my hand. 'C'mon. Give me the knife. You don't want to hurt anyone here.' He looked at the others and finally gave me his blade. As he and I started to leave the manager told me I couldn't leave. I looked over my shoulder and said 'Sure I can. I quit.'

This guy knew more about a single passage of the Bible than anyone in that room, myself included. He was just scared and scared people always do stupid things. I speak from experience.

Recently the world has acted stunned at the revelations of sexual abuse of women in virtually every aspect of industry, film, business, religion, name it and women face harassment of some kind. Men are feigning outrage but the truth is we've seen this and, sometimes, we've either participated or passively allowed this to happen by not acting...The reasons are many and I'm certain every one of us can give a logical and passionate reason for doing nothing, but there is no excuse. 

More than likely we're afraid of our own past coming to light if we stand up and say all this is wrong...Rightfully so...And that has to be the price we must be willing to pay in order to make this world safer for the next generation of women. Yes, each of us has made mistakes, each of us has had to learn the hard way what is right, what is wrong, what is permissible and what is not and those times we've fucked up, those moments when we've crossed those moral barriers and threw morality to the wind when we knew what we were doing was wrong, we must accept the blame and we have to do so with no excuses.

I did this. I'm sorry. I was wrong. How can I atone and how can I move forward to become a better human being. 

When I entered rehab they gave me a notebook and told me to list all the things I've done wrong, all the things I'd done that were illegal. I wrote in big, bold letters on the first page: Not in this lifetime. 

Rehab was a difficult period in my life. But I stuck with it. I never blamed my mistakes on drinking or drugs or anything else but my own actions and some of my actions were because I followed my heart and I will never apologize for that because I have friends I made during that time I wouldn't trade for the world. 

So, yeah, I am angry at what Trump is doing, at the sexual abuse in Hollywood, at the escalating attacks on the LGBTQ Community because the current administration has given the bigots and racists permission to go out and beat, attack and even kill those who are different than their 'Christian' view...Yes, I hate the fact that people use 'Religion' as a reason to allow their own petty hatreds to run amok and I am incredibly angry at the fact America has taken so many steps backward it's almost as though we're in the 1800s instead of the 21st century. Yes, I was young once, yes I pretty much did everything a kid could do when it came to drugs, booze and sex and I'm not pious enough to think I can convince anyone not to follow in my footsteps. People are going to do what they want to do and all we can realistically do is be there for them when they fall and help pick them up. 

I love this world. I believe in humanity, in the soul of the human race. There are a lot of bad people out there and they are loud, they are violent, and they're the ones who make the news, but I don't think, I don't want to believe, they represent the majority of the human race. If they are, then we no longer have the right to exist on this planet...I believe we do.

Each and every one of us is a book to be read. 

I pray that when your book is finally published it isn't censored. The truth is always so much more interesting.
  later

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