I once read a fairy tale, in which the villain was a terrible monster.
Years later, I looked in the mirror.
Then I read the fairy tale again. How beautiful, I said.
June 3, 2020
When We Most Need Them
We all know of ignorant, arrogant, obnoxious, destructive people. But it’s imperative we don’t pollute ourselves with negative thoughts about them — that we say, rather, “This is the very reason we love you.” For not only are they in dire need of love, they are, like fairy tale monsters, our well-timed teachers in disguise. And if we are incapable of such love, the incapacity, temporary though it may be, lies not just in them, but in ourselves. In other words, monsters appear in our individual and collective lives when we most need them, and can most benefit from what they’re unwittingly and helplessly trying to reveal. In my own experience, I’ve yet to meet a monster who, when attacked, did not try desperately to defend itself. And so I have to ask if love is not the truest, gentlest, easiest, most effective resistance of all — the resistance which lifts, embraces, holds, comforts, and consoles the monster, as well as the monster in ourselves. A crazy, radical thought, I know. But no more so than the thoughtless, habitual fear that keeps our anger flying.
Recently Banned Literature, February 24, 2017
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