A good friend recently said to me, “You’re so nice, are you really just a serial killer in disguise?” The answer is no, I’m not a serial killer. Nor am I any nicer than anyone else. Trust me. I’m very skilled in the art of “assholery.” I grew up in a family that helped me hone the skill; I’m human and a lawyer. Yes, that last piece was my attempt at a lawyer joke. Anyhow, the more I thought about the question, the more I wanted to try to address it. Yes, I do make an effort to be nice even when I all want to do some days is climb up onto a building with a bullhorn and scream at the world “just shut the hell up.” Instead, being nice is my way, with clenched fists, of screaming at the dark side of the moon. What follows is what I mean by that.
Many years ago the life of someone in my family was stolen at the hands of darkness. I won’t talk about the details, so don’t ask me. Also, whatever you do, don’t pity me or my family. That is not the point of this blog. Instead, please listen to what I’m trying to say in the context of your own dark times. We all have had them to one degree or another. It’s part of our human existence. No one escapes it. What matters is how you let it affect you. It’s that old cliché, you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.
Right after this thing happened, I remember thinking about how it felt like an out of body experience. It was as if I was on the outside of the world watching these unbelievable events unfold. Was it a bad dream that we’d all wake up from? In the end it wasn’t just a bad dream. I watched the people around me start to come undone. What occurred to me was that there was something worse than having a life stolen at the hands of darkness. The thing that’s worse is losing one’s spirit while continuing to walk around in a body still alive. The thing that did the stealing was human darkness. I define that darkness as anger, rage, fear, loneliness, ignorance, pettiness, jealously, meanness, indifference, cruelty, the list goes on. It’s like living on the dark side of the moon. As human beings, we’re all capable of it every single day. But, we’re also capable of kindness, humility, grace, joy, learning, love, creating beauty; this list goes on as well. My effort to foster these later things in my life is a way of saving my spirit and happiness from the hands of darkness. I clench my fists and scream at the dark side of the moon that it can’t have me or my family. Some days I’m better at it than others. But in the end, as I walk down this wonderful amazing road of life, all I want to be is the best human being that I’m capable of so that I might make a positive difference in this world and the lives of the people I love the most. That’s what matters to me. Peace.