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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Reparations Derby

My dear friends, let us face the fact that sometimes our sense of justice can be overpowering—for example, after waiting our turn in a long line some self-important bully butts in front of us. We burn even though we know that our sense of justice itself can be an ever-looping curse from hell.

No group of people will ever have an ounce of energy for creative goodwill if they fixate on personal transactional ledger-sheets of tit-for-tat favors and affronts.  Such behavior is so taxing partly because a cesspool stupor will haunt the many problematic aspects of prejudicially perceived equivalence.  

I agree that the sin of slavery is open-ended—yet forgive me when I pause to remark that the pain suffered upon the death of a white Yankee’s son, husband, or father during the War is also open-ended. After some awful things in our lives, we must decide to affirm and “live for” death or flat-out resume life with a determination to find joy and renewed generosity even if that means we must discount our awful--even in some sense, cherished--pain (sort of like when due to lack of space we must trash photos of mom as a young girl). 

Have not we all loaned something of value to others on the promise of return by date certain--yet never gotten it back?  At that point we find the wisest approach is to deliberately decide not to allow bad feelings to consume our lives—often as a sort of backdoor forgiveness saying to oneself—“I remember never returning my best friend’s baseball cards when we were kids—and probably those meant more to him then than the money I loaned out ever will.”  I don’t mean to trivialize the profundity of pain, but isn’t something like this truly how often we finally come “to be OK with it..” after a serious loss?

Obviously I am not enthusiastic over racial reparations.... though I have no justification for my not feeling deep guilt over the sins of the South even though I am  Southerner. 

Yesterday, Connie and I were shopping at Walmart in Palmetto.  As usual, we went our separate ways in the store.  In the mop and broom aisle I took keen interest in the display of dustpans.  I wanted a good heavy one with a sturdy handle that would not easily tilt and pitch back onto the floor what I had just swept up. A young black male employee restocking nearby asked if he could help. He left to do a price check scan on a dustpan that fit the bill.  He returned reporting a price of $18—not too much for one like me especially talented at re-sowing swept-up trash.   I thanked him and he replied “…Anytime boss.”  I said, “Tell you what…I’ll be your boss if you’ll be my Five-Star General.”  With smiles all round we clinched the deal.

If I were his father, I’d be very proud that I had a son so pro-active in service.  Matter of fact, it would be drop-dead neat if the next time we meet in response to his "Thank you" to me;  I respond "….Anytime boss.”  Whereupon he promptly replies, “My pleasure Mr. President.”