Two significant events happened, fairly close to each other, when I was a kid. My brother, on an errand for my dad, went into a Safeway grocery. A robbery happened to be in progress. My brother was in his early teens. He was a little over 6′ tall at that time, and had a cast on his arm from a football injury. The robbers were professionals, not drug addicts. And he, and they, kept their cool. The robbers left the store with money, but did not hurt anyone. Later, in another robbery, the youngest of the robbers was killed, unnecessarily, by an off-duty policeman, who didn’t keep his cool. The robber was not much older than my brother, and was with his brothers. You might say, well, they were committing a crime with a weapon, so. . . .
Not too long after that, my dad was in his store (a pharmacy in the same small shopping mall as the Safeway). He was at his typewriter, filling prescriptions for the next day. A man dropped down from above and behind him, accompanied by two other men – and a gun. (They had been hiding in a false ceiling.) My dad, didn’t say a word. They told him not to turn around and to empty his cash register and give the man the keys to the refrigerator in the back (the one with narcotics in it). There was a post office in my dad’s store, and they wanted the keys to that. My dad told them, he would give them the keys, but by taking the narcotics and going into the post office, they would be committing a felony, did they just want to take the money and go? No, they wanted the money order plates, his money and the narcotics. He gave them all they asked for. They did not harm him. And, he was not afraid. The detective who responded with the police was a friend of dad’s. He commented that dad was not even shook up when he gave his statement. That was dad, as far as he was concerned, the incident was over. He was thankful no one was hurt. End of story. He wouldn’t have told it at home, if the police and the FBI, had not called our home and asked questions. Also, the detective’s wife leased an old time (it wasn’t old time then lol) fountain, inside the store, from my dad. So, she told us the details, while we drank chocolate malts and had cheeseburgers. We wouldn’t have heard about it, not all the good stuff, if not for her. Then, one of these robbers was killed in another robbery; the others were captured and a trial was set in another state. My dad would have to go, as a witness.
In the first incident, my dad was certainly glad my brother was unharmed, and proud of him that he kept his emotions in check – which protected my brother’s life and the others in the store, as well. And, he was very sad the young man was killed. He remarked that it was important what decisions you made with your life. Think carefully who you want to be. Make plans to be that. Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of those plans. Don’t limit your opportunities, nor your potential. How sad for a young life, he said – that this was bound to hurt many people. He said you weren’t alone in this life, no matter what you thought, and the things you did affected others. Use care in your thinking, and behavior. Think of yourself, do right by you, and you will do right by others. Regard your own life, and you will see the importance of others’.
In the second incident, same thing. My dad was sad that another young man had lost his life in such a senseless way. I noticed that in both instances, he had no anger, no outrage, no sense of being a victim, it was just something that happened. And, he did not brag about the events, nor repeat them to anyone outside of family. He didn’t tell us we couldn’t tell anyone, but he didn’t encourage us to talk about it outside of our home, either. We were free to ask him questions, but not encouraged to discuss this for attention. He was sad that a life had been lost. That a person had been lost, long before the shooting incident. Again, we were told, regard your life.
I loved him for his compassion, for the ‘long view’ he had about these situations. No sense of entitlement to revenge. He didn’t want anyone else to be harmed, and he wasn’t glad to see someone have to go to prison for the mistakes of an unconsidered life. He accepted it was a consequence of choices, but he felt sadness that the culmination of events resulted in this.
Dad was not perfect. He certainly tried to live what he believed, that impressed me – though he wasn’t out to impress. My first experience of equanimity, how it feels on the inside. That was a life goal worth achieving. Evidently, dad thought so, too.
It isn’t superhuman. We can turn the volume down a notch. It seems, lately, that we (with the help of the media, and others) want to be outraged; want to do violence for violence; want a person to blame; to be held accountable and we can’t seem to move on, or live, if we don’t get that. Time for some meditation. I think the whole world needs it. Live a meditative life. It begins in the next moment, and the next. Pretty soon, a bunch of moments get strung together and you’re doing it more and more. Living a better life for you, and those around you – that ‘ripple’ thing, you know? Then, another person wants to do that, too; wants that considered life. How about it?
As always, peace be with you. Thanks so much for stopping by. Lilie