Sunday, June 01, 2008

Enemies

Recently, I've acquired some enemies...real enemies...the kind that might even go out of their way to make sure that I "suffer". However, what they do not understand, is that although, it is true that this is and can be a very painful process, I have acquired, much more than they will ever be able to take away from me.

I have acquired knowledge, strength, and a much better idea of what is important and what I stand for and believe in. I am also learning to believe in myself because even the people who support and love me think I'm crazy, yet I persevere. There is a very good chance they may be right and I am a loon, but I have to take that chance, something I never had the courage to do before.

I know, I know... I sound like Norma Rae or a character from "The Color Purple" even though I have never seen these movies, that's how I imagine the characters sound. No, my situation is much more banal and will certainly not change the world..all I'm saying is that I've always tried to avoid making enemies and now I'm learning how important adversaries are and that as much as I hate them, and I do, I also realize how valuable they have been and will continue to be...although, hopefully they vanish soon.

Prior to this "situation", I thought I had "enemies, however now, on a scale ranging from Mr. Rogers to Hitler, my previous "enemies" came in around Neumann from Seinfeld...of course, I was Jerry. My new enemies, or what I perceive to be real "enemies", on that same scale, fall somewhere around devious, underhanded "soap-opera" nemesis, scale of wicked. OK, maybe not hardcore evil, but diabolical enough to satisfy my quest to understand how it might feel to really hate someone so much that forgiving that person is no easy task. AND, as hard as it is for me to believe, they see me as I see them.

Anyway, back to my point. Before my current situation, I thought forgiveness was easy. I looked down on people who could not forgive because it always came so easily to me. Duh!
Could it be, because, maybe I never had any real enemies to forgive?

Like everyone else, I've had run-ins with people over the course of my life. I've had plenty of misunderstandings occur between family and friends; I've had good friends who may have stood me up, didn't pay me back, annoyed me, took advantage, blah, blah, blah. I've had plenty of people who have called me names, accuse me of something I didn't do, overreact to something I did do or neglected to do etc. However, for the most part, if hindsight is 20/20, I have escaped the consequences of what I am truly guilty of, more so than what I have "suffered" at the hands of the people, who I feel, I did nothing to deserve the way they have treated me.

The bottom line is I have always come first. I don't mean to say I am mean, selfish, or stingy. I'm not. I can be incredibly compassionate and generous. I'm a good listener, loyal and I always stick up for the underdog, however if someone penetrates my outer shell, watch out! That is when "look out for Numero Uno" kicks in.

Once I have allowed someone access to the fortress that serves to protect my "inner self" and my alarm goes off indicating this person may be the least bit threatening...it is always I who strikes first. The problem is my sense of when someone is going to strike is often times paranoid, completely inaccurate, and myopic.

So, here I am, approaching middle age, and I've finally acquired adversaries who actually take time out of their precious day to engage in antagonistic activities against ME! I must be important...only important people have enemies, right? Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway.

So, right about now, I know I would be asking, "Enough already, what's your point?"
My point is nothing more than I was a pompous ass for judging other people for not being able to forgive heinous crimes. I had no clue how hard it is to forgive and I will never judge the person who can't seem to forgive the person who...oh, just happened to murder their child, parent, brother, sister, spouse, or who injured them beyond repair. I can't even forgive people who I - out of complete ignorance and arrogance - said are making my life a living hell. I don't have a clue as to what living through hell is like and I don't ever want to know.

Instead, I'm trying to think of my "enemies" as my greatest teachers. Yes, I hate their guts and I wish more than anything in the world that I possessed a wand that produced instant karma the moment I waved it, but all feelings aside, the individuals I speak of may be the opportunity of a lifetime if I can learn to transcend the most powerful feelings I've ever felt.

I try as hard as I can to put myself in their shoes, something I normally have no problem with, however, when I attempt to do the same thing with my enemies I always fail miserably ending up hating them even more...I've got a long way to go.

2 comments:

Anonymous,  13:31  

Yeah, I grew up in a Christian family and I never understood that "love your enemy" stuff. I hate my enemies and they hate me. What's there to learn from that?

Leute 17:40  

IMHO, real enemies strip you to the core, meaning it's hard to wear the mask when someone else is determined to make you suffer or challenges whatever you stand for.

For example, take someone who claims to be a pacifist. Well, anyone can claim to be a pacifist in loving and accepting surroundings, however, give that pacifist a few hardcore enemies who threaten what he stands for, what he loves, and most importantly who he wants everyone to believe he is and see what happens. The enemies will prove beyond all doubt either that he is indeed a pacifist or that pacifist stuff was all talk or that maybe he still believes in pacifism but needs to work on living up to what he believes in.

That's where I am right now. That's one of the reasons I blog because sometimes things aren't so clear and I'm weak, but somehow by expressing what I believe it helps me to sort things out. Believe it or not, it make it easier for me to practice what I preach. I'm really preaching to myself.

Anyway, the bottom line is enemies challenge us as no one else can. They take away our sense of security, control, objectivity and expose us to the reality of what we profess to believe, test whether we have the strength to live up to our sense of right and wrong.

This is what I've learned anyway and it's not always easy to live up to your own standards.

Thanks for the comment.

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