I mean, we all are, right? Maybe not all of the time, and some of us more than others, but I definitely am, and I feel like a big one today. A few days ago I wrote about our oldest daughter and my concern about her desire and need to help others, even to her own detriment. I stand by most of what I said (it’s my job to worry about her, I’m her mother), but underlying all of it, just beneath the surface, was sort of this “live and let live” approach I try to pretend to take from time to time, and I think it’s time I admit that it’s complete bullshit. Well, I shouldn’t say “pretend.” It’s the approach I actually try to take and tell myself I am learning how to take, but is really as foreign to me as anything I’ve ever encountered.
I think my post about my puzzle on Saturday night gave me away as someone who probably struggles with OCD (I have never been diagnosed, so maybe I am just delightfully quirky). I cope with it, rather well, in my opinion, but I like certain things to be a particular way. Related to that, I think, is a need for fairness, or justice, evenness. For every right, there is a left, for every up, there is a down, for every douchebag, there is a foot in his ass. That sort of thing.
I would love to be the kind of person who just kind of floats through life, smiles at everyone, swallows my opinions, and just lives. You do you, I do me, we can have a big kumbaya circle and maybe do a few yoga poses, maybe have some herbal tea. Except no. That’s not really me. Sometimes, frequently, I want it to be me, I think my life would be easier, peace would flow through me and doves would eat birdseed from my hand and butterflies would float around my head.
I think it is great to work toward peace, and I am devoted to finding it every day, internally and externally. I want everyone to get along, I want everyone to be kind, I want to learn to be kind to everyone. Or do I?
I guess I don’t. I don’t want to learn to be kind to people who are bad. I don’t want to ignore when other people behave badly. I don’t want to float through life and let other people figure out their own problems. I don’t trust the world to hand out justice. Bad people do bad things, and they target good people, people who tend to not stick up for themselves. Those bad people are to blame. But you know who else is to blame? Good people who watch it happen and don’t do anything about it.
Yesterday at Mass we finally had a good homily (HW would describe it as mediocre. I thought it was quite good – I thought “good” was a fair compromise). He talked about trusting God, holding on, keeping lines of communication open even when we feel alone, even when we don’t understand, even when we feel angry. He encouraged us to tell God we feel alone, tell him we don’t understand, yell if we have to about how it all makes us feel.
He was right. We should yell, talk, explain, communicate with God. We should also stand up and say something when we see something that isn’t right. When someone takes advantage of another person. When someone lies and we know it. When someone is a bully. Bad people do bad things, but we don’t have to put up with it. It doesn’t have to be our fight. That’s the thing about help – we can offer it to anyone.
Be kind to those who are kind, friends.