“We have met the enemy and he is us.” - Walt Kelly’s comic character Pogo, in celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970.
I’ve spent a lifetime with all of humanity on the psychologist’s couch trying to understand the patterns that led us to where we are. And then eventually get on the couch myself, as I am most certainly a part of the “us.” We all are in different degrees.
And so I was a struck by some passages in a mystery novel I just finished, Louise Penny’s Still Life. Food for thought on a Sunday morning, where some may be hoping Jesus will save them, some putting that heavy burden on their partner or a drug or some alcohol or a psychopathic narcissist who they once helped elect. Anything to avoid that needed look in the mirror.
But note the hope in these quotes, the possible of grace and the choice of kindness.
“I think many people love their problems. Gives them all sorts of excuses for not growing up and getting on with life.
Life is change. If you aren’t growing and evolving you’re standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead. Most of these people are very immature. They lead ‘still’ lives, waiting. Waiting for someone to save them. Expecting someone to save them or at least protect them from the big, bad world. The thing is no one else can save them because the problem is theirs and so is the solution. Only they can get out of it.”
The fault lies with us, and only us. It’s not fate, it’s not genetics, and it’s definitely not Mom and Dad. It’s us and our choices. Most unhappy people blame others. But it’s us.
But the most powerful spectacular thing is that the solution rests with us as well. We’re the only ones who can change our lives, turn them around. So all those years waiting for someone else to do it are wasted. The vast majority of troubled people don’t get it. The fault is here, but so is the solution. That’s the grace.”
And later in the book, as the detective tells a gay couple why he didn’t suspect them:
“ I think you’ve both been hurt too much in your lives by the cruelty of others to ever be cruel yourselves. In my experience people who have been hurt either pass it on and become abusive themselves or they develop a great kindness. “