Be the Shepherd

Old Sheperd near his flock

“This old cane is for junk-punching, and I’m not afraid to use it.”

Just a fleeting thought in the myriad of things that bombard me early in the morning. My best friend/ sometimes lover/ I don’t know what the hell you would call us-he’s one of my forever people, I guess. Anywho, he was in a terrible marriage forever until she finally came to the conclusion that she’d been a lesbian throughout their entire 20 year relationship and ended things. It happens. Now, he’s exploring all of the things he should have been discovering when he was 19 and getting married with a baby on the way.

He’s making the rounds with every woman that crosses his path, and I encourage this cautiously, wanting him to have the good experiences while fearing that he’ll be damaged by the bad ones, but he’s a grown man, and even a bossy old bitch like me understands that good or ill, experience is really the only teacher whose lessons stick. The issue isn’t that my friend is a typical male that’s blinded by a pair of boobs on sight; it’s that he’s a fixer. If there’s a damaged soul within 50 yards of him, they inevitably latch on to him like a barnacle, and he seems to enjoy the sense of purpose that comes with being needed.

His latest project is a single mom with two or three kids. She has some sort of neurological disorder, and may very well be addicted to pain killers. To top it off, she also has some sort of slave/master relationship with a guy who lives on the other side of the country who claims to be a powerful warlock. She has a tattoo that claims her as his property, and she seems to take no issue with the fact that he has several other slaves, and she hasn’t seen him in a great long while, even though they have a child together.

I’m sure you can see where this is going, so I won’t get overly elaborate on my friend’s role in that scenario. I just told him not to take her to his apartment and not to leave his wallet anywhere that she might be able to snatch the few meager bills that he has. He agrees that she’s a risky venture, but that won’t stop him from trying. It never does.

And to be clear, this isn’t some judgment on my part regarding the veracity of some dude’s warlock-ness or lack thereof. Nor is it a a judgment on people who enjoy the healthy variety of a slave/ master relationship. Maybe he is a warlock; how the hell would I know? However, assuming for a moment that he actually IS a warlock, that just makes it that much worse. It doesn’t matter what I believe, but it matters a hell of a lot what SHE believes, especially if someone is using that belief to control her or take something from her that causes her irreparable damage.

My friend told me about this girl a few days ago, and I’ve found myself stewing over the situation. This morning when I woke up, this thought blared to me from my subconscious- in the real world, wolves don’t disguise themselves as sheep; they disguise themselves as shepherds. I’d bet money that this motherfucker, warlock or no, has convinced this girl that he can help her as long as she willingly surrenders her power to him. Magic or not, she’s clearly giving something away that she can’t afford to lose.

Personally, I think there’s a reason that there’s no clear evidence of real magic in the world, and this asshole is proof of that. The truth is, I think, that most people would handle that kind of power badly, and that most people, given that kind of power,would become the equivalent of a redneck who strikes it big on the Power Ball and blows his shiny new wad on every gold-plated thing he can find until he’s broke once again and hocking it all at the pawn shop so he can pay the power bill six months later.

But I’m kind of a cynic.

Even as I criticize this unknown man, a voice in my head is scolding me as well, and a lyric from a cheesy 70’s love song rings in my mind- ” It’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give.” You’ll never pull the wool over my two-toned eyes. I have one blue, one green, and have been asked more than once if I see things differently, and I suppose I do, or rather, it seems like I see both sides of everything all at once, which makes for a shitload of static in my brain at times.

I can see what that man is doing from a thousand miles away, and even though the lizard part of my brain wants to junk punch him and be done with it, the other part of me can’t help but wonder how he got to a place in his life where he feels justified in doing that to another human being. I feel pity for this poor girl and especially her kids, but I also feel anger that she would allow herself to be treated so horribly. Then I’m gently reminded that not all people have that constant, simmering fury that I seem to have been born with. I won’t ever be taken advantage of, but I also find myself being less sympathetic and willing to help than I could be. The lizard is strong in me, and the lizard just wants to watch the world burn so we can write and watch Netflix in peace.

Then I see my friend committing these small daily kindnesses for people. The lizard part of me thinks he’s an idiot, but the other side is drawn to his light, moth to flame. I know, that’s a cheesy and overused expression, but it’s just the fucking truth. He is most definitely the light to my dark, and has saved me more than once from my own dastardly inclinations. He’s a couch I can always sleep on, and if he was sleeping on that couch, he’d take the floor so I could have it, although I’d never take it. I try not to need him, or anyone, that way, but I always need that reminder that there are truly selfless people in the world.

In return, I listen as he vents about all the things that he can’t fix, like his marriage, and I remind him that no one in this world tries harder than him. His response is that it’s important to “do the hard thing”. It’s easy, he says, to do nothing, to stay in your lane, and just tell yourself that you can’t do anything about the situations that other people get themselves into. I’m living proof that he’s telling the truth, because my lane is awfully appealing at times, but then I think of the meals he fed me when he could barely feed himself, of the time he fixed my bathroom floor when I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it, of the times he’s fixed me just by being him.

And he makes it all look effortless, even though I know damned well it isn’t, and that it would never even occur to many people to do the things he does. He’s the one who teaches me that we are all responsible for carrying the burden, and the “why’s” and “what-ifs” are less important than simply getting the job done. Whatever power you have is meant to be used in the service of humanity, because that’s the only thing that makes us all better. Be the shepherd, even when you feel like a sheep, maybe especially then. Someone always has it worse than you, or at least equally as bad. And never, ever, allow yourself to stay in that place of complacency and complete lack of accountability, because if that life doesn’t turn you into a wolf, it will most certainly make you just another sheep to be devoured.

4 thoughts on “Be the Shepherd

  1. I’ve met a few warlocks in my time; they tend to be alike, almost identical, and the girls, (notice I didn’t say women) they attract, are also identicle to each other.

    AND , I’ve wanted to junk punch every warlock I’ve met, and I’m a peacenic (well, mostly).

    Like

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