Monday, April 13, 2009


I haven't watched television for about a year. A few movies once in a while on the computer, a DVD some months ago, but nothing, really. Even the sport that I still think of as my own -- don't watch it. But I got the yen just now, and watched some YouTube bjj. Found my name associated with a competition from last year, and on that same webpage was a video of someone I actually knew. He'd posted some of his matches. He'd always been very athletic, and he looked in charge. His clips had some other people in them that I used to know. Gave me a very strange feeling. A really surprising amount of hostility, but unfelt, if you get my meaning. I'm just aware of it, in a way that I don't generally allow myself to be. That's what happens when there's unfinished business. It doesn't have to be that way. It just is, because of the way we are.

I didn't go out at all, Easter. Didn't see or speak to anyone. It's like I'm in hiding. That would be because I am. I feel like talking to someone, though. Not you. Ah, that's what it is. I've been feeling the need to write it out, but I am deeply afraid of the pain it will cause. This is my way of getting around that fear. Create a desire to tell it. Very clever, Jack. It seems you're not as self-destructive as we had thought. You'll find a way to survive the choke, even if it's breathing through your ears. I hadn't thought you wanted to live that much, given the quality such as it is of your existence.

You know the guy who's all talk, and you know he'll never get real, never do anything, never move on? That's me, you think? But what do you know about me? Only what I've told you. You don't know what I've done, or what I will do. You trust me, and it's right that you should, but you know what a joker I am. You have only a glimpse of the violence in my soul, and my elegant prose and manifest compassion have convinced you that I will always be, in the end, civilized. You believe in my rationality.

Allow me to return to one of my themes. You think you are safe. You have nothing to fear. You can't be made a victim, or if you are, society exists to protect the innocent. Right? And then this illusion is peeled away, and you see the horror underneath. You see betrayal and the world's love of it, like maggots under a cozy blanket. You have choices in the matter. You can fight, you can run, you can lie, you can get in bed with it, you can die, you can kill. I'm not thinking too hard, so of course there will be many other options.

You see a crime. You see the felon fleeing. Let him go. Why get involved? You know what will happen if you do. They'll see you running, and arrest you. No, that didn't happen to me. But it happens. Not to me, I'm not telling my story here.

My question is, how do we deal with corruption? Not official -- on a personal level? How do we deal with loss? Well, by replacing it, of course, like Job, who got double his riches and a whole new family. This is said as if it were enough. So it must be.

You know what I am? I am an encourager. You don't see that much, but this isn't the place I do it. I like that about myself, how I'm optimistic for other people. I'm honest, in that I don't lie about the future. I find what's positive and true, and I say it. It's not a trick, not a tactic -- it's how I really am. It's why I was a good teacher -- because I was enthusiastic about their future. I was consistent in holding open the door of excellence. I loved to give honest praise. I took pleasure in the success of others.

I knew how to do this by its lack in my own life. Praise must be sincere to be meaningful. Honesty must come from a benevolent motive. So, yes, I know what I need to heal. I need encouragement. Isn't that pathetic? A grown man, needing encouragement? But it's in the very syllables of the words. The opposite of discouragement is encouragement. You'd think courage comes from your own character. But it's nurtured.

Remember that, please, with your kids. It seems like hardly anything else matters. It's the good that might come from the horror that did or may yet overtake you.


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