Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” We could read that prose from the poet and immediately assume that he was referring to an act of dishonesty, malice and deceit and he probably was. But what if someone did everything right and no one ever recognized that their actions were noble, assuming instead that the person’s actions were for ill gain? Or what if this person was accused of malevolence even as his or her accusers held the truth in writing or had witness testimony that the deed was done for good not evil?
We come in contact so often with people who have ulterior motives these days that I have a hard time knowing when a person is telling the truth or if I need to come to a meeting wearing waders because I know I’m going to be wading through a pool of bull crap every time that person opens their mouth.
There are very few genuine people in my world. Is that a generalization? Yes, but I’ve said it before; I can only tell you my truth, everyone else has to unearth their own. I’ve found that this statement is true in my current affairs. Again, mine not yours.
Right now I can tell you off the top of my head the names of people that I feel are genuine when I have interactions with them. I can also identify precisely the names of people whom I won’t play a game of poker with because they’ll end up robbing me blind with one hand and feed me a line while their other hand is in their mother’s purse.
There are people who are nice to your face but wish they could shoot poisonous darts out of their eyes and through the back of your head. There are people who act like your best friend but what they are really doing is trying to gather more information to identify your weaknesses and exploit them when they can and as often as they can. But having a handful of trustworthy friends is a comfort and a blessing that I wouldn’t sell for a million friends who would rather feed me crap and tell me that its brownies.
There are people who do noble things in this world. They do things for the right reasons and I recognize them because their actions speak louder than their words. They don’t go around parading themselves as do-gooders; they don’t tell people about all of the blankets they gave away to the homeless or how they fed a family of ten for two weeks because the family couldn’t afford to buy their own groceries.
And yet, for all the good these people do in their communities, there are even more who stand by and ridicule them, mock them and make them feel like complete fools while they reap the rewards from the efforts of others. Or, those ‘others’ will make the job less meaningful, difficult and traumatic. The stress these people with noble hearts and intentions encounter during their interactions with those who are politically motivated and who are so entrenched in lobbying and playing sides is enough to drive a good person into depression and hopelessness.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” I see monsters every day in the form of football parent-coach tyrants, school yard bullies and oppressors at work, in the community, in sports and in life. They are cruel, vindictive and heartless fiends who say things like, “If I can’t have that than no one can,” and kick sand in the faces of the others who occupy the same sand box. Whether you’re two or 92 you’re still a callous bully when you impose and manipulate your selfish will on those whose only intent was to do the right thing.
We know who you are even if you’re too arrogant to see it yourself. We are careful not to expose ourselves too your mind games. You have revealed your true self in the things that you do, not in the sugar-coated, venomous words that you speak and though we may in time forgive you for your angst, it will be hard to forget your actions though it will be very easy to remember the kindness of those who do what is right even when it’s so hard to follow through.