listening to the wound…

barred sight - July 17, 2013m

How do we cope when our sense of justice is wounded?

How do we deal with our confusion and anger, as we watch another criminal go unpunished?

Maybe we see him grinning at us from the pages of a newspaper…

Maybe the cameras show him living the high life at his villa….

Maybe we hear him claim that he’s done nothing wrong…

In fact, he may even say he’s done much good in the world!

Though I don’t believe in hell, I do believe in karma…

…but, to be honest, I don’t think either concept can really help us deal with our feelings of outrage.

We want to witness some retribution, here and now.

We may protest, and in our protest, we may cry, we may sing, we may shout in anger…

Such expressions may help ease the pain, but can they truly heal the wound?  After the flare of our protest, the outrage remains, under the ashes, smoldering…

I might express myself by firing off a passionate salvo…

But afterwards, I may likely become mired in apathy, in depression.

Like many others, I may throw up my hands and sigh, “That’s just how the world works.”

Of course, I could continue my protest—I could take up the cause for justice.  Maybe the current injustice can’t be righted, but I can look to the future; I can work to change the system…

Ah, but there are so many injustices—so many outrages, so many disappointments.  No matter what I do, I may lose hope…

When our sense of justice is wounded, again and again, an ennui of cynicism may pervade our society.  We’ll scoff at old beliefs regarding ethical behavior.  The voice on the street will sound something like this:

Crime doesn’t pay?  Sure it does!  The meek will inherit the Earth?  May not be much to inherit!  As you sow, so shall you reap?  What have I gained from trying to do the right thing?

I won’t argue with any cynic.  For that matter, I’m a bit cynical myself…

But I really don’t like the feeling.  Because I don’t like the feeling, I try for some deeper understanding—enough understanding, enough perspective to keep me from slipping into the mire.

So, based on from I’ve seen and experienced, here’s what I believe:

The criminal who displays no sense of wrong doing, no sense of guilt, has a hole in his psyche…a hole in the place where empathy resides.

So, despite outward appearances, he does suffer.  No matter how he grins, that man lives in his own hell.  He’s been there for some time.

Ironically, his criminal act gives him a chance at escape…

If he could feel some remorse, some guilt over what he’s done—if he could feel his own suffering—he could begin to patch that hole in his psyche.  He could begin to work his way toward freedom.

As is, he remains trapped because he doesn’t know he’s trapped.

So he didn’t get away with his crime, after all.

Let me be honest: this belief does give me some cold satisfaction.

But only a tiny bit.

Anyway, I don’t hold to this belief because it satisfies, in some small way, a desire for revenge…

…nor because it lets me feel a little self-righteous.  I don’t want to use my belief system to bolster my ego.

No, I’ve decided to hold to this belief because it leads me to a good place…

Unlike the criminal who feels no remorse, I’m aware of my suffering.  So, unlike him, I can heal myself.  I don’t have to remain mired.

Because we’re feeling human beings, we can work our way up, out of our depression—we can get out of our hell.

Okay, sounds good, you say…but once we become aware of our pain, then what?  How exactly are we supposed to heal ourselves?

At this point, I must confess, I can’t offer a plan, a sure-fire prescription, a cure: I’m no expert—just ask my bruised heart.

But I do know this much: the pain must be felt.  I must sit down there with it, agonize over it…listen to it…listen to what’s under it…know it as well as I can…

…and go from there.

Knowledge is, indeed, power.

Our sense of justice will be wounded many times in this life.  But unlike those who’ve delivered the wound, we can heal ourselves—we can find freedom, true freedom–freedom of the spirit…

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry


About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and fabulist...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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