When I was a child of five, six, maybe seven I was beaten up by this nasty kid across the street, Tommy Pace. It might have only been a few times . . . the memory may loom larger than the events.
One time I received a pummeling all the way back to my house. Upon entering, my hysteria upset my Dad who shoved me back outside to face him again — and then locked the door behind me. That’s one way to find out you’re on your own.
We moved away when I was nine . . . .
I returned to the area after college to work in my Dad’s tire store. I was muscular now — lean — I’d just worked on a ranch all summer and then biked from the Colorado mountains to the Louisiana swamps. I swam daily, I ran daily — I was ready for Tommy.
I found myself driving to the old street. Not that I was going to pick a fight. I’d just read three books on Gandhi the previous year! Voluntarily. As in not for school.
But . . . if in that Billy Jack, Kung Fu Kwai Chang Caine spirit I was forced to defend my pure self — why, I pitied the fool who would let loose that inner ferocity.
These were my background thoughts — it quickly became evident my larger self thought this ludicrous.
I didn’t think in terms of forgiveness back then — but I was overcome with the utter silliness of my fantasy revenge.
So, the difference between me and the enlightened? Many years.
It took me many years to let it go. The enlightened don’t have to let something go, for in the moment they are pervaded with understanding.
Now I think of the whole arc of the story with fondness. That was likely the first thing I let go in my life — voluntarily.
My work is to whittle that gap down to some years, then some months, and then some days. At some point — one can anticipate, one can hope — I will be peace and understanding in the moment.