Many years ago, when I was young and handsome, I ran a residential facility on the US East Coast. (Now, much time has passed, and I am merely young.) Although a lot of very positive things happened in this place—a lot of growth and recovery—this facility was not always a tranquil habitation. It also could be home to lots of contention and resentment. Clients argued with each other about the smallest things, or didn’t want to comply with their obligations. Attendants didn’t like what they were being asked to do, or spent time with clients they liked better than their own. I asked a carpenter for something of specific dimensions, the contractor wanted to give me something of different specific dimensions and charge more. Our funding source often impressed us with new styles of aggravation, most often through one of the subcontractors. Dark storm clouds gathered on our horizons, and it sometimes became unbearable.
As the tension grew, and the general mood became ever more grim, there came a point at which I would think, ‘Somewhere in the universe, someone needs to ring a bell, and all this friction and conflict will stop. We will all put away our disagreements, hostilities and strife, go for a beer, and spend a pleasant evening.’
It was an agreeable thought.
I’ve been looking around me, as have you, and I can’t say we really like what we see, do we? People have become nuggets of concise, concentrated information—so much so that you never really know the people. There are people so demanding, and exacting in their desires, expectations and requirements, that no human being will ever satisfy them. Entertainment is often an assault to the senses and the sensibilities—who can relax? In my view, the greatest ‘sins’ are the most common—insincerity, indifference, negligence and neglect. They are rife. A rat race in which the prize goes not to the fastest but the nastiest rat.
I’m ready for that Bell.
I want us all to hear that Bell so we can gather in a field somewhere, and stand around in a circle. Young and old, rich and poor, ruler and the ruled, lovers and haters, the different and the same—all together in a circle. Then we can see we aren’t so different, that our desires don’t always clash.
Those who were injured are healed. Those who were offended will forgive, and those who did offend will sincerely repent. Strangers will embrace and become friends, and the contentious will develop mutual respect.
Compassion can grow there. We can learn those that hurt us had reasons we could never fathom. We can learn that the People are governed by the authority of the Ruler, but the Ruler is governed by the needs of the People. Will we see that sometimes desperation was masked as villainy, fear as hatred?
There will be music. Not a symphony with its complex melodies and harmonies, a hundred instruments each playing its own part. Not a rock band playing at eardrum-shredding volume, but something simple, something sweet. A child, perhaps, playing a pipe, weaving a simple tune we all can sing, and to which we all can dance.
And when that’s done, we can go for a beer.
And spend a pleasant evening together.
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