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Sunday, January 28, 2007

When I grow up, I want to be mean.

Recently I was looking through some old pictures and came across one of me when I was a lot younger. I put the old picture next to a more recent one and immediately noticed a huge change in my eyes. They are much harder looking now 'a days. As the two photos lay on the desk, staring at me, I began to think about the journey that has hardened a young boy. A journey that has sown and reaped the seeds of anger, frustration, fear and meanness.

As I dissected this journey, I broke it down into chapters or seasons. I weighed each season trying to find out which one was responsible for such a drastic change in my life. Marriage is no doubt one of the causal factors of some of the hardening, but the real heated forge is the chapter I currently find myself in now; my job. Mind you there have been many chapters that I have weathered without such of a callousing impact, but the last decade and a half have no doubt left its mark on me to the point that it has not only changed my appearance, but my demeanor as well. This is what troubles me. Am I content with that which I have become?

I watched a video on You Tube recently ( http://youtube.com/watch?v=VZvm5H4F-aA ). It starts with a quote, "You can only be free when you have nothing to lose." I do not think that this is something to be taken lightly. We speak of reckless abandonment, radicalism, dying to oneself, and living an all in lifestyle, but really, do we or can we afford the cost of such talk? The video impacted me because of the statement at the end (I won't spoil it for you, you will have to go watch it). The fact is, we are all living on borrowed time. Our day are numbered, none of us get out of this thing called life, alive, but we hold on to it like we can.

I began to imagine what this hardened boy I see in the two photos would do if I was told by a doctor that I am dying. Would I loose my anger on those who arrogantly and selfishly rule their little kingdoms with contempt for those around them? Would I be able to let go of my fears, and speak the truth? Would I still hold back my passions for standing up for those who can not stand up for themselves? I would like to think I could. So then why not do this now? Why can't I stand up and face the giant before me? Why do I bite my tongue, sit quietly, grit my teeth and say nothing? I have been rehearsing for such a fight every time I clip on to a rope and face paralyzing fears. I have risk physical harm numerous times in my life. So why can't I stand up and face the giant known as rejection? Every time I think of this my hardened eyes narrow, my jaw becomes clinched, and I become so internally frustrated.

This season is teaching me to become attentively mean. Mean to the point of extreme passion and drive. Mean enough to stand and face what needs to be faced with no forethought of the aftermath. The kind of meanness that comes from exposure to so much evil that kindness is abandoned in the pursuit of justice. The kind of meanness that is not tolerant of wrongs. The kind of meanness that changes the course of history itself.

Although I do not like the impact this season has had on my eyes, I think I am content with that which I am becoming, even though I struggle for the balance.


Peajay said...

You cannot go back to what you once were, you are forged in the fire of life. But is the man you see the same as the man I see? Is he the same man that speaks words of comfort like a warm embrace to soothe a troubled heart. I know which man I see and I believe you to be him.

Talking Bear said...

Thank you for the ever-so kind words PJ. I am sure I see a different man than you. Or, maybe you see all of me. I am kind of like two different persons. One is very tender and sensitive, the other is the mean shell. The shell has been created for a reason, not only to protect me, but those I see that can use some comfort and safety. Anyway, Thanks again for your wonderful comment, it comes at a great time for me.

Anonymous said...

I see a man who cares so deeply that he has built a shell around his heart and eyes to protect himself. Protection from people who dont care, from the world that can be so cruel and harsh to people who did nothing to deserve it. ("Thrown away kids")
I see man who is willing to go out every day and face what you do, all to get up and do it again the next day.
I do not see a man who is mean, I see a man whos heart is so big and tender, that he has had to build a shell to protect that little boy in him.

Anonymous said...

I have a picture in my mind, I will try to explain to you , as it is you that I see.
It is a cold,snowy harsh night. I see a man walking past dark allies,ominous shadows, snarling, warning the ones who dare to get to close.
yet I see that same man opening his jacket and exsposing his chest to let a little girl in. Trying to protect and comfort her, knowing that, that is when he is at his most vulnerable. On his knees and open chested.
I pray peace for you, the Gaurdian

Talking Bear said...

Ok-ok-ok, I won't be mean. Thanks for the great words of comfort. BUT, there does come a time when a "gaurdian" must become mean enough to face or counter that which must be opposed.

Anonymous said...

I agree,sometimes you have to be mean, but as long as you keep that "meaness" in its place and it doesnt cross that line.

Talking Bear said...

But, that is the question. Where is "that line?" I think that it should always have a label of professioal-ness to it. It must always come from a place of tenderness. That is link of a paradox, no? Meanness rooted in tenderness.

Anonymous said...

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