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ATTILA THE HUN AND MOTHER TERESA
January 30, 2008
 
A few withdrawals from the presidential race in recent days, some gracious words between former foes. Politics is a fickle business; none of its alliances and none of its enmities are permanent. One wonders how people can be so savage one moment and so irenic the next, but that's the way it is. Strange.

Or is it so strange? I have been a bit shaky recently, not quite myself. That's certainly no crime, but I seem to be lashing out at Q all the time. I catch myself: Sorry, I say, I don't know why I'm being so mean.

You're not mean,
he lies, kindly. You've just had a bad couple of weeks.

I hate it so when he snaps at me, and I always try annoyingly to occupy the high moral ground by never snapping back. So, naturally, I am embarrassed when I am the one on the offensive, when Barbara the Good's feet of clay are revealed for all the world to see. This has so little to do with actual goodness, so much to do with pride.

Well, don't people just have bad days sometimes? Nancy asks. Maybe you both do, sometimes.

Hmmn. Just a bad day? A day that doesn't necessarily inaugurate a lifetime of suffering? People have bad days sometimes. And then tomorrow is another day. It seems so simple, but in a flash I see it is true: I will not become a person who is never peevish. It's too late now, and besides, there is no such person. This doesn't make me Attila the Hun, any more than my usual good temper makes me Mother Teresa. Our choices are never between Attila the Hun and Mother Teresa. Not even Mother Teresa was really Mother Teresa, it turns out. She had some bad days, too. And Attila the Hun? I don't know. Maybe he wasn't really Attila the Hun. He may have been downright nice to some people. Perhaps to other Huns.

I see that I have tried to inhabit a black and white world, which is very odd: I haven't believed in a black and white world for a long time. I see that I have demanded things of myself I would never have expected from anybody else, and that this has been motivated by a prideful self-absorption I am already better off without.

Now if I can just remember not to pick it up again. For this I will need some help -- it is a well-traveled path, and those are always easy to walk on again. But every day is new, and none of us are doomed.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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