Friday, September 23, 2011

A Walk on the Dark Side

A long ago forgotten memory. I was probably around 8 or 9 because I would have been able to walk home alone (in those days) without big brother who was already in junior high or tag-a-long little sister, not yet in school .

        A beautiful spring afternoon to walk the 10-12 blocks to our house from the elementary school.  Never a creature of habit even as a child, I would shuffle from sidewalk to street gutter to add variety to my steps.  I let my eyes scan the ground for various treasures abandoned for whatever reason.  Unusual bits of broken glass, abandoned  balls,  pencils,  or tattered school papers adorned the little swept street.  My favorite sighting would be rocks of various sizes and shapes.  Once I had found a strange red sandstone-like rock that looked like a rose..
      So, this particular day I knew I could take my time to search  for new objects and knew I might have some luck.  Just a block or two from home, I found IT. But what a strange smooth tiny rock it was!  I picked it up and marveled at its beautiful blue speckled color. It seemed unusually hard and heavy.  What possessed me to do what came next, I still do not know.  I tossed it up in the air. Caught it. Then squatting close to the ground, I smashed it into the gutter.  Did I really believe it was a rock?  Why couldn't I recognize or admit that it was a robin egg?  What ever evil thought I had, I really do not remember, but I do recall with vivid acuity, the horror.  Even though the yellow yolk and glistening white spilled from the shattered remains, and my adult mind now knows that this abandoned egg was probably never fertilized, my child mind sized me up as an evil killer of a baby bird.
      First thought of death...
      First thought of my power to end life...
      First thought of my internal wickedness.

     Eggs are the symbolic essence of the beginning of life, of purity, birth, renewal, of nature's miracles. Ironically my first thought or memory of the word "egg" created just the opposite.  But, could it be that nature is powerful enough to hold lessons from both poles of good and evil within ourselves, and we can be grateful for that power to teach us.
     We can so quickly point out the evils in others or in the world, but until we can recognize those seeds of evil within ourselves, we cannot heal the world around us.


  1. This is humbling to read. People can relate to it, I am sure. One of the most insidious things I see, within my small community, is character assassination. While there are those who might say, "Just rise above it. Let it roll off your back. They don't pay your bills," it still hurts. I believe it also hurts to be the perpetrator. Unless a person has no conscience, they feel at the very least, uncomfortable after their deed. Gossip is seductive and it's hard to break the habit. Certainly, I've known people are aware and feel it's their duty to share. I know a person who believes, "It's not gossip, if it's true." Like you say, the change begin with us. I am amazed that anyone would be shocked at the world situations when families can't even get along. Great post. (Accidentally put this response on your previous piece, so I cut and pasted it over here!)

  2. Such a poignant little tale from your childhood. What a highly developed conscience you had for such a young child. Did you tell your mother or father what you did? What would they have said? I ask myself the same question, if one of my children shared this with me? People are earthy. It takes a lot of effort sometimes to do or say the honorable thing. Temptations can present themselves in the most unusual circumstances. There have been several times in my life where I have done things that caused me great shame and extended sorrow. These were things that hurt other people. I was humbled and frightened at how cruel I could be. These were bottoms in my life. Over the years I came to believe that the only thing I get to take with me someday is how I treated others. It began with a desire deep within to simply be nice not because I would get some sort of reward but the joy of doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing. I like the thought that if I'm pointing a finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at me!

  3. This is a compelling post and causes me to think of how I can feel like a victim rather than the perpetrator - whether in a passive way or an aggressive way. I sometimes will sooner feel victimized rather than take a look at myself. It can be automatic. Habit. While it may not be evil, it is careless and erodes at relationships which are so precious. My family of origin issues are tragic and the "sins of the father" (and mother) have effected an entire generation. Mine. My children and their cousins are on the way to building a new family legacy, however, I am the only one who supports this. My siblings have no interest and would rather stew and malign others. They may yet influence their children to carry on their grudges - most founded on FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real - "F" Everything And Run - Face Everything And Recover). In my work with others in recovery issues, this is my focus - to first build healthy and happy relationship with a God of one's understanding, one's self, husbands/wives/partners, children, employers and then work their into the next layers of the outside world. The world can be a tough place and whether it's true evil, or simply the desperate actions of others, maintaining a sense of self is vital and to not let life compromise our values. I don't find your entry depressing. It is thought provoking and positive. It reminds me again that we are not powerless. We can choose the high road. A sense of humor can make a world of difference!

  4. A favorite quote: When you drink poison and expect the other person to die. I think of this as resentments and the actions that can follow. Resentments are insidious as they take on a life of their own. Eventually, we might act on them and they take over a vulnerable person. often on a child. A form of evil. Someone else said: The cause of most mental illness is the necessity to seek revenge. These can be the little evils that add up and make a larger evil. The devil is truly in the details.

  5. I like what was said about gossip. I try to keep in mind, "It's one thing what people call you but it's another what you answer to." Gossip can burn and it's often hard to step over. A person may never experience the truly evil things in life but the small infractions will cause isolation and pain. This has become a great blog for sharing quotes. I collect them, too.

  6. The phrase, "Be hard on myself, easy on others" comes to mind. The knee jerk reaction of blaming someone else can be very easy when I'm hurt or frightened. We've all read about evil in the world. I've known one person close up who was truly evil. Calculating. Choosing the vulnerable. Taking joy in the pain he inflicted. He took lives, literally - changing the people left behind forever. He was not punished in any visible way, unrepentant and for the rest his life excused his actions in an intellectual way. Chilling. Being the recipient of evil this person inflicted has taken a lifetime to sort through. Forgiveness wasn't an option. The words, even in prayer, choked. That God could and probably would sickened me. Though I knew that this person's actions were likely caused by abuse toward him and subsequently be became an abuser were no consolation. He had taken away part of my life I would never get back and precious people who would not come back. I began to pray one day, "God bless him but please release me." It became a mantra. I continued to give it to God. It became less but didn't disappear. Over the years, as I've had opportunities to do personal inventories on myself. I realized the potential in me for evil. There have been many times I pushed the envelope and justified my behavior. People were hurt. I broke Commandments. I always felt I had my reasons. It wasn't until I realized that by my own standards, I had failed. I had committed acts that separated me from God. I was able to focus on my own soul rather than judging where another person's would end up. That I could also hurt others was something I wanted to avoid with my entire heart. This was an act of free will I wanted to achieve. e

  7. Wonderful comments and additional quotes, everyone! You bring in so much more than what is initially posted. It just adds to the treasure.


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