I Demand Justice!

Revenge v. Justice

Haven’t you ever wanted to see someone who’d hurt you “get what they deserve?” Most of us have. Grandma Esther used to say, “Every dog has its day.” Rest assured she wanted to be there to watch it happen, if not personally take part in the act.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. - Confucius

Grandma wanted revenge, not justice. There is a big difference between the two. Revenge satisfies our ego. We get to be right. We are there to observe the punishment. We get to feel vindicated, justified, and may feel like we’ve turned the tables on the person who we allowed to victimize us. But it will never give us what justice does:

In his new documentary series on The National Geographic Channel, actor Morgan Freeman examines how peoples all over the world deal with the results of war, and how peace is possible. In one episode, he sits across from a Tutsi woman whose family was killed by the Hutu people during the genocide in Rwanda.

Next to her sits the man who was part of the Hutu militia. The man was personally responsible for killing those family members. Over two years of communication has resulted in these two people from different tribes becoming friends through the help of a local bishop in the area. They are part of an “ambitious reconciliation program.” The man who murdered her husband, brother-in-law, and two children now helps her with her farm to provide income for her family, making amends for his actions.

We are more aware today more than ever before of the injustice in the world. This is so because of 24-hour-a-day news coverage, the Internet, and our smart phones. Because of the information we receive it can become extremely easy to react to events and reports, often without a full understanding of the complete picture. We want to stop the violence, but we frequently lack any knowledge of why such horrible events are happening in the first place. We can become so fixated on the solution that we ignore why the problem exists.

Revenge is easy. Justice takes time. We must gain knowledge; we seek to understand; we can then act in wise ways to correct the problem; and, we begin the healing process.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” is a phrase attributed to Pashto origins, shows up in the Italian culture, and even said to be of Klingon origin in Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan. Regardless of the actual source it dooms us to a cold, heartless, and unsatisfying life, instead of warming us to a brighter future.

In the television series, Revenge, a “double infinity” symbol was used emphasis unending love – in a sense, “double forever.” That same symbol reminds me every day that revenge, not justice, continues the cycle of hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness.

Is there someone in your life upon whom you are seeking revenge? Are you investing your time, treasures, and talents in the pursuit of getting back at another? Seek this week to heal those thoughts. Determine to forgive, so that the psychic bindings holding you to that person or situation are severed for all time.

We have within us the power to change. It’s a quality which we are born with, but often fail to use. We are only victims of the past if we chose to be so.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

“Only In New York”

I'm home for a week and using part of my time working on a new project I plan to have available to the public before the end of the year. In my research I ran across a piece I wrote in 2001. In light of the contentiousness of current times I thought you might enjoy it.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

"Only In New York"

“Only in New York” is a phrase hard to explain unless a person has had the joy of living in Manhattan for any length of time. Yesterday I was taking the 1 train down to Midtown to run some errands. An older, black woman burst into our car right after I’d boarded the train, ran into my shoe with her over-filled shopping cart of worldly possessions and screamed at me, “MOVE YOUR GODDAMN FUCKING FOOT, ASSHOLE!”

Charming, I thought.

I reacted as any other New Yorker would:  I avoided her glance, moved my foot, turned up the volume on my CD player (Dixie Chicks, in case you wondered) and continued reading my book. I began mouthing the words I was reading so as to focus on my material rather than the political tirade upon which our homeless picture of ebony femininity had now embarked.

Okay, so when she got to that part about the evil white Devil in the White House I had to nod slightly (forgive the political commentary), but the truth was that this woman was becoming somewhat compelling. She was preaching and I suddenly realized I was the choir. I just had to be amazed at how focused she was on her message about politics, poverty, the rearing of children and healthcare for the elderly. No one else dared to look at her or respond to her, though snickers were abundant.

At 110th Street I turned off my CD player, replaced my book in my backpack (black, of course, as was my outfit — this IS Gotham after all!), and headed for the door — the one next to Miss Congeniality. “What’s this stop? 86th Street?” she hollered.

I looked down at her, the filthy clothes and the pieces of this and that which made up all her worldly possessions. Apparently, I saw something no one else did at the time. Her face opened and revealed something no one else saw.

I smiled at her, not a condescending smile, but a sincere and painless effort to show her affection. “No, my love”, I said, looking straight into her angry brown eyes, “It’s 103rd Street — you’ve got a few more stops to go.”

The anger peeled away, her face brightened and I saw the Christ in that dirty, brown face. “I love you” she said, looking up at me. I smiled back and said, “I love you, too! Now you have a blessed and wonderful day.”

As I walked off the train, she sat quietly, still beaming, with the majority of the eyes in the car on her, mouths slightly a gap, eyebrows raised. I love New York.

Copyright © 2001, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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You Talking to Me?

How many times have you heard that line in a movie or TV show based in New York City? I lived in Manhattan for nearly two years. No one ever said that to me. Perhaps I’m not that threatening, but then again I talk to most everyone.

That’s the standard joke in my family. I can get someone’s full family history, find out their deepest secrets and leave them with a smile on their face and hope for the future – all in 30 seconds or less in the check-out line at a convenience store.16 Blog

It’s a gift.

Kidding aside, however, people talk to us all the time. If we are to live the global vision of a world that works for everyone we ought to be listening more carefully. Perhaps we don’t like what we’re hearing. Or, maybe we just don’t like the message being delivered by what we consider to be the wrong person.

I know it’s a real ego buster when someone we don’t care for smacks us with the truth about our situation. Ouch. You’ve been there I’m sure. I know I have. We don’t want to admit the truth about why we are in yet another abusive relationship, dead-end job or reoccurring illness, but there we are and the person we least appreciate being in our life is there to deliver the obvious.

What to do? Here’s a couple of ideas:

  • Do NOT react.
  • Breathe. Deeply. Allow your body and mind to relax.
  • Agree. Yeah, I know. It’s really hard sometimes, but just for the moment agree with the person. This defuses any anger or upset on the part of the other person involved, which in turn allows us to relax a bit as well.
  • Forgive yourself. Why? Because if you could be doing any better you would be.
  • Resolve to do better, whatever that looks like for you, understanding that what it might look like is continuing to be a hot mess for a bit longer.
  • Thank the person. No, seriously. Thank them. They are the messenger of Spirit, sent to you to help you. If you’d listened to your inner guidance you wouldn’t be having this experience. So suck it up, Buttercup, and remember to listen next time when your intuition tells you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
  • Forgive yourself. Again. Sorry, that last bullet point was a bit harsh. But it’s the Truth, so take another deep breath and forgive yourself. You don’t read my work because I’m Glinda the Good Witch, all pink and sparkly. You expect me to be blunt, but I hope you know I still love you. (If it’s any consolation the people I love and respect in my life do the same thing to me … and at the time I usually don’t like it either … I feel your pain.)
  • It’s only going to get better!

You’re smiling, right? If you aren’t running in terror right now or hitting “unsubscribe” from my blogs, then come on over to the Facebook® page for Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation, my Centers for Spiritual Living focus ministry. Every day this week we’ll be chatting about ways to live in closer contact with the inner revealer of Truth and learn how to communicate better with those around us.

Come join the fun!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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