Enemies have a purpose.
Looking back over my interactions with people over the years, I’m reminded about some folks who fit the role of my enemies…
- The childish poseur punk, who mistakes basking in someone else’s glory for fame in its own right, and attacks colleagues and contemporaries in language and tone that speaks volumes of his background and upbringing.
- The cynical wanna-be who gets petty thrills by putting down members of an online community of which he was (once upon a time) moderator – and now is seething with impotent rage as his ‘super-powers’ have been stripped away.
- The social media maven whose “lectures from the Mount” she expects the rest of the universe to bow to, obey and accept unquestioningly as their lot in ‘online social’ life.
- The Fortune 500 consultant who barges into cozy, polite gatherings like a bull into a china shop, taking pleasure in disrupting the social fabric of a happy little community just for the sake of making a trivial point.
- The “oh so smart” writer who should know better than to glance at my deeper messages and then draw superficial – and silly – conclusions, which he then proceeds to share with hundreds of my peers.
And there are the ‘lesser’ enemies – minor irritants who make daily life on the digital Web that wee bit less fun, that tiny bit more annoying… like mosquito bites on your unprotected hands!
I should harbor, nurse, and cherish that enmity, for the “wholesome development of my malice”.
But somehow, in hindsight, I realize the things they’ve done to attract my ire aren’t worthy of being kept in mind.
In my younger days, I’ve lived by phrases like “Revenge is a dish best tasted cold”, and enjoyed tales of them like “The Godfather” and “The Count of Monte Christo”.
Today, as I work with tiny tots who have been dealt a bad hand by Life, and do what I can to help them beat the odds and survive, a lot else pales in contrast.
Things which I may have obsessed over seem trivial, incidental, insignificant.
Pediatric heart surgery has made me a better grounded person.
Suffering has a cleansing effect – even on observers.
Try this the next time you feel uncontrollable anger, or irrepressible rage, or deep burning hatred against your enemies.
Walk into a children’s hospital. Visit the cancer wing, or the surgical ward.
Look around. Connect with the kids. And then, think again about the enmity.
Does it really matter so much any more?