Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 29: Sweetest Thing In Life, Good Catholic Boy, Turn the Other Cheek

The Blue Fairy Godmother left, amused and patronizing.  When he was gone, Lazzaro promised Billy and poor old Edgar Derby that he was going to have revenge, and that revenge was sweet.

"It's the sweetest thing there is," said Lazzaro.  "People fuck with me," he said, "and Jesus Christ are they ever fucking sorry.  I laugh like hell.  I don't care if it's a guy or a dame.  If the President of the United States fucked around with me, I'd fix him good.  You should have seen what I did to a dog one time."

"A dog?" said Billy.

"Son of a bitch bit me.  So I got me some steak, and I got me the spring out of a clock.  I cut that spring up in little pieces.  I put points on the ends of the pieces.  They were sharp as razor blades.  I stuck 'em into the steak--way inside.  And I went past where they had the dog tied up.  He wanted to bite me again.  I said to him, 'Come on, doggie--let's be friends.  Let's not be enemies any more.  I'm not mad.'  He believed me."

"He did?"

"I threw him the steak.  He swallowed it down in one big gulp.  I waited around for ten minutes."  Now Lazzaro's eyes twinkled.  "Blood started coming out of his mouth.  He started crying, and he rolled on the ground, as though the knives were on the outside of him instead of on the inside of him.  Then he tried to bite out his own insides.  I laughed, and I said to him, 'You got the right idea now.  Tear your own guts out, boy.  That's me in there with all those knives.'"  So it goes.

"Anybody ever asks you what the sweetest thing in life is--" said Lazzaro, "it's revenge."

Okay, let's get this out of the way first--Lazzaro is a very sick man.  Also let me says this--no animals were harmed in the writing of this post.

The main point of this little passage is revenge.  Getting even for perceived slights.  Of course, if someone causes me pain or makes me anger, my human response is to want to exact some kind of justice.  I want the person to experience pain and anger, as well.  That's just normal, I think.

Having been raised a good Catholic boy, I was taught to turn the other cheek.  Forgiveness, that's what it's all about.  Love your enemies.  You get the idea.  Revenge isn't one of the Ten Commandments or part of the Beatitudes.  If I seek revenge, then I'm sitting in judgement on a person.  Not my job.

That's not to say that I don't sometimes daydream about divine justice being visited on people who have harmed me or my loved ones.  Of course, I do.  (I have never dreamed of filling a steak with razor blades, however.)  I have wished ill on people.  Fantasized about coming into a large sum of money and using that money to make somebody's life miserable.  Like I said, I'm human.

I have had/do have people in my life who cause me distress.  And I can't do a whole lot about them.  If I spent my life dwelling on hatred, I think I would be a pretty miserable individual.  For the most part, I don't allow these people to even enter the radar of my daily existence.  If I do, then I have handed them the reins to my life.  Can't do that.

I try to pray for people who have caused me pain.  It's not easy.  I try to tell myself that God will take care of them.  Doesn't always happen in the time frame that I would hope.  I want immediate justice and retribution.  God works in His own time.  For example, if it were up to me, Donald Trump and his family would all be sitting in prison right now, awaiting trial for treason and just being assholes.  Obviously, that's not happening at the moment, although I still have hope.

Revenge isn't sweet.  It eats you up, because the seed of revenge is hatred.  Hatred is a terrible burden to carry around.  It can turn a really good day into a really shitty day.  Better to let go.  Turn the other cheek.  Forgive.  I believe some famous Guy in sandals once said that a long time ago.

Saint Marty is thankful this morning for the ability to forgive.

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