Abused dogs shouldn’t go sky diving. There is an old parable that goes “If a dog is
burned by scalding water he will fear cold water too.” This fear is what drives us to recoil anytime the prospect of hurt rears its head. Although the water in this case may not be hot, there is no way of knowing how it will hurt until it hits us. We need love to live, but may fear it even as we simultaneously seek it.
If a dog is abused, he or she may tend to fear people who resemble his or her abuser for the rest of his or her life. If a dog is used as means of entertainment, to fight other dogs, one never really knows when he or she will attack another dog. The tendency becomes so natural for the dog. Even unprovoked, a once abused dog may viscously attack another.
But when two dogs have been abused in such a way, they both attack out of self-preservation. They see the other as a threat and are unwilling to show any weakness. They retaliate with twice as much force, understanding their actions to be those necessary to regain control. We all seek control. Control protects us from being hurt. But when we actively seek out love, we are seeking out the opportunity to relinquish control, to trust completely in another. This can be scary.
Falling in love is like falling out of an airplane. We give up any control, we remove our feet from the ground so that we can experience what it is like to have our heads in the clouds. Without our feet on the ground, we cannot hope for control. When we’ve been hurt before, we may cling to those roots, refusing to let ourselves really fall. This may bring us comfort and simultaneous pain. But, when we choose to let go, to really fall, we may experience the greatest thrill of our lives.
What do you call it when a person is barred from engaging in an activity as a result of his/her heritage, sexuality, or gender identity? If your answer was, “It depends on the person’s heritage, sexuality, or gender.”, you are a part of the problem. There are those of us who hold identities tied with historic oppression and those of us who hold identities tied with privilege. But to lump us all together, to say I am one who did oppressing because of the color of my skin, causes you to fall victim to the same illogical reasoning behind any other kind of bigotry. But I’ve been told that I am not socially permitted to protest the election of Donald Trump the same way my brothers and sisters of other socially defined “race”, sexuality and gender are.
It follows logic to say a majority of Trump’s supporters are of European dissent. But when we say “white” people voted this lunatic into office, we need to understand that the words “white people” in this claim do not describe all people of European dissent. I didn’t vote for him. But, I have read, his winning the election is my fault because of the color of my skin. When someone says, “White people can’t protest this because white people are responsible for it.”, the words “white people” in this claim hold different meanings in different parts of the sentence. The first refers to all people of European dissent. The second refers to a portion of United States citizens.
Forget, for a second, the moral perspectives of negatively stereotyping groups of people, It’s just not logical. I’ve been told some citizens of European dissent wear these anti-trump safety-pins as means of showing they are allies against the man’s bigotry. Still, this persecutive divides us. It says the problem isn’t ours, but we are willing to stand by those who happened to belong to a minority group. This is bigger than that. Bigotry is a problem for all of us, even those of us who happened to belong to all of the social classifications of the bigot. We are one! We need to stop acting like others’ problems are not our own.
One of the most common facts cited in attempts to discredit perspectives of the existence of a higher power is the existence of pain in our world. If an all-knowing and loving god created us and our world, then why must we experience such discomfort? There are those who would say we are being punished for the sins of our fathers. There are those who believe God is punishing us for the original sin portrayed in the first book of the Christian bible. But does it make sense that an all-knowing and loving god would punish the individual for something his/her ancestors did? There are those who would say we are deserving of the same punishment as a result of our sin. But, does behaving in accordance with the way in which we were created deem us worthy of punishment?
My answer is simple: No. Pain is of a different nature. It is not punishment. It is a product of love. Pain inspires us to take action to remove ourselves from harmful situations. Without pain, children would likely play in fire and willingly drown in the sea, not knowing of the physical consequences to be. I like to imagine the first humans, impaling themselves over and over again until God decided a deterrent was needed.
Pain provides contrast to our world. Without pain, could we appreciate pleasure? I am grateful for every pain-free moment I’ve had since the brain tumor. There was a while when these moments were so rare, I felt great relief and joy in the lack of pain. Having known what it is like to live in a world of pain, I can now appreciate the real lack of pain in this world. From a perspective, I’ve been to Hell and come back.
This experience taught me that pain is relative. I learned through my pain, ways around my pain. This pain taught me to let go of my absolute perspective of the world. Like a child, attempting to hold tight to a burning skillet, I fought it. But, eventually, I let go. I now live in a fluid world. Sure I understand that history tends to dictate future. I also understand that my experience of the world is largely based on my perspective. It is so nice to afford myself the ability to be wrong. It is so nice to understand that there may not be an absolute right.
We tend to act in accordance with how we see the world. This perspective is often largely formed by people we trust, Mother, Father, Pastor. The perspectives of these people are often painted in black and white. But, when we recognize these people are just as human and as flawed as we are, we open ourselves up to seeing the world in many shades of grey and colors we didn’t know existed. To see the world in black and white can be painful. This is the Universe, God, or whatever you want to call it telling you to open your eyes.