Tuesday, July 19, 2011


"Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art."
Charles Baudelaire

"Confidence in the goodness of another is good proof of one's own goodness."
Michel de Montaigne

For the past few weeks, I've wondered where I went wrong to succumb to the recent betrayal. I wondered, if it was the result of my historically foolish belief in the goodness and honesty of my fellow humans. What point is there to go around not trusting people until one gives you reason not to be trusted. Even then, when my temptation is to want to turn the other to pure evil, doesn't it feel better in my heart if I hold onto, if at all possible, one small shard of true goodness I can muster in my recollected experience relating to the other person. At times, not only can't I hold that shard, I cannot even see a speck.

I myself, am not a model of goodness. I fail often and widely to live up to my own standards of goodness. Lately, I'm failing miserably based on de Montaigne's account of goodness. I've mostly protected my grief and heartbreak by feeling anger and hate, by telling stories that make X-man evil. Of course, in doing so, I become evil myself.

So, here's my pledge for the day: I will take a 24-hour reprieve from any negative words about X-man. Additionally, if any negative thoughts about him arise, I will invite them to leave. I will focus on replacing the thoughts with a yellow swallowtail, full-winged, finding its footing on a leaf near the table at the outdoor cafe where I'm drinking iced tea. If I'm not yet good enough to make a list of X-man's 'good' attributes, I will at least focus on goodness in the world in other places.

My friends, in fact, have been so incredibly kind, so incredibly good people through all this--setting aside their own life worries to take my phone calls and field my text messages, telling me how good I am. So maybe before I can really get generous enough to see the good in X-man, I can begin to acknowledge the goodness in myself, that others seem to appreciate. I can even celebrate by sending myself bouquets of flowers, to celebrate who I am and to offer condolences to the recent hard loss I've survived.

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