Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Times of War

Have you ever had an argument? A real bad one? An argument so bad that there was really no way to solve it? An argument that leaves everyone involved feeling hostile and angry, like there is no way to ever be friends again? Abbot and I have had arguments. Like the time when he squeezed his toothpaste in my ear, or when he told my maker that I was the one who plowed into the table and left a chocolaty mark, or when he stole my blankets in the night because I had not laughed at his joke about pickles and tarantulas. We've had some arguments, but somehow we always say we're sorry and move forward. I have learned, however, that sometimes people just aren't sorry, and sometimes even if people are sorry, it's not enough. Sometimes I've been sorry about something only to procure that I was the one for whom the apology should bestow.
Conflicts are complicated. Sometimes so complicated that anger festers. Some people think they're right and they get a group of others to follow along, so soon, they ALL think they're right. And sometimes these ones who believe they are right will do anything to press their view on others. If the others DON'T believe the cause of the group who thinks they're right, then sometimes violence erupts. As my maker explained all of this to me, I made her stop and tell me about violence. Violence is a concept with which I am not familiar. I've heard about it, and I know it exists, because I hear my maker discussing war and murder and abuse and beatings. I guess I just hoped if I did not ask my maker about violence, then I would not have to know about it. How could any living human or creature hurt another human or creature? I asked my maker that and she said that first, all creatures have a built in defense mechanism. This helps them to defend themselves if they feel threatened. She must have heard what I was thinking because she said, "Caruthers, sometimes creatures get scared, like they might be hurt, or killed, so they try to protect themselves in any way they can. This is an innate quality most creatures are born with. Back in time, millions of years ago, when creatures were being made, this innate sense of fear was the key to survival. If creatures couldn't defend themselves, they wouldn't live long enough to reproduce." It was then I remembered the talk about the seeds. I wondered if plants had fear instilled in them also, or was it just for animal creatures? I suppose this all made sense, if one was going to be eaten by a swarm of blackbirds, or smashed by Bigfoot's foot, or trampled by a herd of dinosaurs. But, self-inflicted, human violence is a different type of violence, isn't it?
I asked my maker about war. She gave me some history, but soon realized my distaste for the subject when I tried to plug my ears. I didn't want to hear any more about it after a while. She DID say, there were always 2 sides.....at LEAST....to these very complicated conflicts. One side believes their truths, and the other side believes their truths. Not only that, but depending on which side one is on, the other side is automatically wrong. Some wars are fought for good reason, my maker said, and others not so much. "Of course," she added, "what I believe is good reason and what others believe is good reason, aren't always the same. Everyone has their own opinion. It makes the world an exciting place because we can learn from each other, but it also makes people upset when their opinion is not the most popular. This can lead to conflicts, and sometimes, violence." I asked my maker why some people think it is appropriate to inflict violence on others, for which she had no answer....or rather, too many opinions to share.
Abbot and I had the opportunity to meet 2 Civil War generals one evening. They looked very rugged and handsome in their uniforms, but almost too formidable for me to feel comfortable. General Hancock and General Grant held us nobly in their arms for the photo, then told us what it was like to be a general in the Civil War. The Civil War is an infamous U.S. war in which our nation fought against itself, just because 2 groups of people had different opinions on what was right. The stories the generals told me were horrific and I could barely listen. My maker was there and she cuddled Abbot and I and told us both we did not have to listen to any more if that is what we chose. The generals had bayonets and guns, and other weapons that reminded me of the days Abbot and I played Pirates. I did not think I was creating violence when playing Pirates, but I suppose I was. After a couple more stories I could no longer listen to the atrocities that occurred during that war. It was too much for me. Abbot and I thanked the generals for their time and their stories, and secretly, we later decided, we felt sorry for them for having to endure that ordeal. They were very brave men, fighting for what they believed (I agreed with their side, as did Abbot, believing all humans should be free, no matter their color) and they deserve our praise and gratitude, now and always. The same is true for our soldiers today. They have an unspeakable job, yet they do it because of what they believe in. However, the other side will always believe they are right as well. Where does it end? My maker must have heard me, as I slumped into my chair, and said, "Unfortunately, Caruthers, it doesn't end. And it won't end until we all believe the same things. That probably will never happen." That made me very sad. She saw my foreboding expression then, and little water droplets fell from my eyes. Then she said, "But, you know what Caruthers? YOU make the world a better place, just because you care.....because you have love and show love, it makes all the difference to everyone who knows you. How can we make the world stop fighting? One giver at a time, one lover at a time, one tolerance at a time. That's the only way I know."
My maker kissed my nose and Abbot handed me a dirty tissue from his pocket and placed his arm around me. In his hand was a slightly used caramel. I smiled. I knew I would be OK.

Until next time.


a painter said...

Caruthers, your maker is a wise person. She has a good heart.

April said...

Dear Caruthers-
Don't you worry your fuzzy head..you are a lover, not a fighter. Like your maker said, the only way to fight hate is with love. You, Abbot, and the colorful and zany army of smiling Woolies, your maker sends out into the world, spread so much Happiness and Joy!
Thank goodness you did not take up cigar smoking- you had me worried there for a minute!