I love ah ha moments. You know the ones where suddenly something makes complete sense. I especially love it with words. I am not sure I am a writer but I love words, especially the power of them, their meaning.
This may clash with my somewhat well honed ability to put my foot in it verbally. Twice this week actually. Telling my mother that now I am a little fatter perhaps I might fit those jeans I gave her. Or saying to a friend down the street yes do come to the remembrance service (my mum’s a minister) my mum really enjoys that service – ah duh.
Right so you have it I love ah ha moments but I am a pro at ah duh moments.
One of my ah ha moments recently was listening to Shane Claiborne’s interpretation of the biblical verse ‘when someone strikes you on the right cheek turn and let them strike you on the left’ (hopefully I got this around the right way). Verses like this often puzzle me, I get the non-violence but I wonder at the purpose of being struck twice. The word sitting duck comes to mind.
Shane goes on to say that at the time to strike some-one on the right cheek involved using the left hand, a hand used for striking subordinates (like wives : ) ), while the right hand was used for striking equals. So by turning your cheek you are quietly, non-violently saying, now strike me as an equal.
I liked this!
I have always found it hard to stand up for myself. There are many reasons for this, but it is much easier for me emotionally to give in, just take it. Or is it? Such a way of responding has cost me much internally. So my challenge of late has to been to learn how to do this, to stand, and let people only strike me as an equal.
I had an experience with my doctor whereby every appointment was an interrogation – literally. And being in a fragile state already it was difficult for me to defend myself – yet I am filled with righteous indignation when defending others.
Anyway the day before my next visit I happened to have the ah ha moment above, coupled with a visit to a museum displaying the history of the Maori tribes who belong to our region and reading of their mistreatment by settlers. Lets say I was on a crusade of justice (in my mind anyway).
So the next day at the doctors I refused to justify myself, I stated well I disagree with you, lets agree to disagree. And the doctor responded with well we can’t because I sign all your papers (for benefits, medications). So I said well why don’t we get the specialists opinion and the doctor grudgingly agreed. I walked out of that visit filled for once with righteous indignation for myself, ‘you may believe you have all the say but I will have a say too’.
My specialist (whom I restrained from hugging at the end of the session) treated me with respect; she asked what I thought, what I believed would be best, and gently offered her opinion. And then wrote a note to my doctor basically supporting much of what I had been attempting to explain.
I have yet to see my doctor again but I will be curious at the response.
It is easier for someone to strike you if they assume justification by being above you in worth, position, expertise, moral righteousness…. However, if they strike you as an equal they live with their conscience.
Rather than a sitting duck, turning the other cheek, issues a non-violent challenge to the one who strikes.
Ever wonder how Nelson Mandela could have a meeting of mutual respect with the South African president of the time? Go on to spend decades in a prison governed by his rule. Then work alongside him when he was released? Although struck, Mandela’s actions and conduct portrayed to the world that he was any man’s equal. It was not the one struck but de Klerk who had the change of heart in the end.