Column 29 Published in the June 21, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer
This past winter, I had an irksome conversation with a relatively new visitor to The Angle. He was a guest of one of the larger resorts and has only been coming here for a year or two. Clearly, he doesn’t quite “get” this way of life and was joking about the naivety of our trusting nature and how he had “lucked out” as a result.
I can’t recall the exact situation that he was recounting or how the conversation came about even, but I do remember my reaction to something he said about “lifting.” Aghast, I looked at him in disbelief and said quite vehemently, “Angle people don’t steal!”
“Well, I’m not from The Angle,” he countered, quickly.
That stunned me into silence, but the disdain must have soured my face because he said no more and left.
His words have stayed with me for months.
The proclamation that he’s “not from The Angle” was justification enough in his mind for whatever quasi-wrongdoing he was up to.
Sure, he spends a tidy sum to vacation here, and perhaps that left him feeling entitled to something we have that he does not. Or perhaps he’s a simple, sorry sought, an emotional vandal wherever he goes. Or maybe he’s aching to capture what The Angle is about in the only bully way he knows how.
Or more likely than not, he’s a lost child of the divine and lives a life run by the ego as most of us do.
I’ve come to believe that we have something to learn from everyone we encounter. In Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, one passage stands clear in my memory: “What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job?”
Slowing down and patiently waiting to receive the lesson can be the true test in today’s immediate gratification society.
Along that vein, my patience is being sorely tested by the reactions of family, friends and neighbors about the latest senseless mass shooting. Instead of responding with love and sympathy, the fearful ones are gearing up to defend their right to bear military-style assault rifles. These are not weapons of self-defense or hunting; automatic weapons, like the Sigsauer MCX assault rifle used by Omar Mateen in Orlando, are designed solely for the mass slaughter of human beings.
I’m going to write those words one more time and then I pray I’ll never have to write them again: “assault rifles are designed solely for the mass slaughter of human beings.”
It’s disgusting, isn’t it?
Barring a zombie apocalypse, I don’t understand why any responsible gun-owner would insist that these be readily available to whomever wants them in our society.
And so, I wait patiently for the lesson, trying my best not to judge and giving love to those who live in fear.
The Beatles, the Bible, A Course in Miracles and a multitude of others all teach that love is all there is, that love is The Answer. Always.
To my family members, who are so certain the government is coming for your guns and equate assault rifles with freedom…I love you. I really do. I hope you will soon know that your fear is unfounded, that your fear is senseless, that in fact, your fear is in your mind, born of nothing. Love is the only answer to fear.
To my neighbors at The Angle and in Warroad, who didn’t lower their flags after the POTUS ordered all flags at federal buildings and ships at sea to fly at half-staff…I love you. Even though you’ve lowered them before when federal flags were lowered, at the recent deaths of a supreme court justice or a former first lady, for example, I will assume you simply didn’t get the memo this time. I’d rather not believe you’re trying to make a statement about the lifestyles of the youth who were killed while dancing in a nightclub. Love is the only answer to fear.
To the bully Angle visitor whose face I don’t even remember but who thinks it’s okay to steal while here because you’re not from here…I love you. Please come back and let me show you the real Angle, beyond your big-box resort and the bars where you get your drunk on. You’ll grow to love this place as we all do. And then you’ll be a steward, not a vandal. Love is the only answer to fear.
Fear does not make us stronger or braver. Fear does not protect us from enemies. Fear builds walls between countries. Fear bans people of specific religions. Fear keeps you trying to control all minorities because you most fear becoming one yourself. Fear makes you loathe people who are simply trying to get a foothold on life: refugees, immigrants, minorities of all sorts, shapes, colors, disabilities, preferences, and women (though we are the majority in world population and college education now). Ha!
You fear our presence because at the root of it all you fear the power of love.
Snap out of it. Go hug your pet. Go look in the mirror right now and tell your eyes “I CHOOSE LOVE.” We live in a beautiful world. Our lives are brilliant. We, as a people, are the most amazing, perfect creatures.
I’m so bored of the fear-mongering I could scream. Wake up, people! Wake up, Kellie!
And we all will, in good time. Peace is imminent.
Live with it.