The world often seems a cruel place. However insignificant, we all we receive some sort of wound. There are many kinds of wounds. A wound might be as minor as having your pride hurt. You might be wounded by your own anger. You could be wounded in war.
Conversation between men quickly falls into. trying to find some person that you both know or some experience that you both share. Sometimes a male conversation becomes an effort to try to do the other one better. I’ began a conversation with another man while we were having our cars repaired at a local car dealership. Both of us were retired. He mentioned that he spent a considerable amount of his time-working with young men to keep them off the street. I couldn’t say I did anything like that but I did say that my wife and I often hired a crew from a local recovery house. He was familiar with their house. He knew that” it was hard to work with them. I went on and said that I once had two of them digging out a stump in our yard. One of them couldn’t take instructions or even use a shovel. I had become angry. In order to show them what to do, I had jumped into the hole they had dug. I had received a stab wound from a tree root.
I hope that someday it will completely heal and that there won’t be any reminder of what caused it. It remains an aching reminder of that day when I had become very angry. I lifted my pant leg and showed the wound to my acquaintance. He was far more humble than I and certainly would never try to do me better. But he did finally mention that when he had returned from Vietnam – it was three months before he could walk again. I didn’t ask to see his wound. It may never heal.
I doubt that I will ever meet him again, but I do know one thing that we agree on. The world isn’t cruel. It’s the individuals in our world who rage against each other. They, and not the world, are cruel. I know that anger like mine on that day isn’t an answer. My acquaintance bears testimony to the only way in which to defeat anger.
That way is the best kind of leadership. He stood against violence and then two more men stood up with him. All of them withdrew to a better and safer place. Theirs is the only way to be.
– Will Emes Jr./Benicia