Monday, February 01, 2016

Gunslinger


Gunslinger

The true measure of my life is what I see, finally, in the mirror of your heart.

I am not a prideful person, but I am proud of who I am. I try to be mindful of what others are as well. Some days, I will forget. Some days, I will throw out a casual remark, a word or phrase, and forget that words are more powerful than a killing bullet from a madman’s gun. I try not to be trigger-happy. Most of the time, I watch my words form in my mind, consider them, and turn them over and over before spilling them into being. I am usually attentive to the feelings of others. Some days, I draw and shoot before thinking.

The sad result is that there is no way to pull back a killing shot. If what I say or write rips through someone’s flesh and finds his or her heart, I cannot retrace that moment. A million words of apology will not redeem a single word of callous insensitivity. You simply cannot revive the dead.

Over my life, I have met many gunslingers on dusty streets at high noon. I guess I will never understand why so many have wanted to call me out. I suspect it is the fashion of the day, a recklessness that some believe defines the new honesty of these modern times. Some, I have let outdraw me on purpose because I knew their aim would be wide. Some, I have met with a severe and startling force because I knew their intent was fatal and would find its mark.

I have lost friends in the battle of words. I have lost lovers in the hysteria of angry accusations. I remember every loss. Some I regret.

Dignity. Such a strange word through all of my life. I have held it as a benchmark for my own behaviour and for the behaviour of anyone who would enter my world. I need to treat others with the dignity they deserve. I expect others to treat me with the same.

In Japanese culture, the greatest disgrace is to “lose face,” in essence to lose one’s sense of worth in the eyes of others because of something said or done and to feel an overwhelming loss of respect. This loss was so hideous to the ancient samurai that a self-imposed death was preferable to living outside of their honour, outside of dignity. Such an action seems extreme to us today. We prefer to justify, mystify, vilify, and thereby escape the consequences of our words or actions.

Truth is never absolute. I do not need to hold everyone I know to some exacting standard that I have created for him or her. I need to be compassionate, empathetic, understanding of the feelings of others. I need to ensure that their dignity is never in jeopardy. There is no victory in feeling superior to anyone. There is no triumph in being so brutally honest that someone feels diminished or punished by what I say to him or her. Too many times, we escape our own faults and insecurities by attacking the faults and insecurities of others. It is easy to hurt. It is easy, and it is thoughtless.

I need to do better.
 









 








 
 


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