I was a good neighbor. I was a good priest. I was ethical and never once did I wince in the face of danger, manipulation or ridicule in the public square. I gave more than I had to give of my time, money and most of all - my self. I gave everything with a pink bow, emblazoned with gold lettering that spelled out "ACTIVISM".
Activism is a catch-all drawer of a word. It means so many different things to so many different people. For me it was more than a title, it was a condemnation. At the very best, it was a label that gave a clear indication to the community that it was OK for me to be ineffectual in relieving the plight of lesser, undesirable human beings, because I was nothing but shadow to begin with.
I held on tightly to the ideal that matters of life and death were to be taken with the utmost urgency. With the utmost importance. But that particular ideal, as with so many others, had long-since slipped away from the consciousness of the community. Along with any hope of compassion, empathy or understanding. All of these priceless precious things had been exchanged for narcissism and personal "Quality of Life" goals.
I thought that I could bring these ideals back again. I thought that I could surly demonstrate by example passion and devotion to others in such close proximity that it was worthwhile to address the needs of the suffering, whoever they may be. I thought wrong. I was wrong. Its true. You cannot revive a corpse.
In the face of further ridicule, slander and even persecution by my own religion, I write the truth to you now. The truth that no body really cares about anyone else but themselves and with good reason. To care about the plight of another human being is to take that suffering upon yourself, albeit in a different form, but suffering nonetheless.
For all of my valiant and noble effort, I am left with so much reward. A reputation that precedes me everywhere I turn, wrought with falsehoods and lies. I am penniless, unemployable and forever spilled over with suspicion and looked upon as nothing more than a maniacal, bothersome, trouble making dissenter. I am now seen exactly as those I have served - an undesirable human being.
And that is just on the outside. On the inside, my memories haunt my dreams, nearly every night. Filled with horribly unspeakable evil. Gang violence, child abuse to a horrific degree and lonely deaths along the creek's banks, all of which I will never be able to prevent. Now I see their wounds, tears and death states in every moment of my life.
I am nothing but a loser, having thrown my life away because I am so insane, I actually thought that I could lead the lost to reason. I thought I could redeem them somehow. I was wrong.
Now I am nothing but a shell of a man, hoping that my fake confidence will buy me a little more patience with the few friends I even have today.
Even finding solace in the refuge of my original religion has been fraught with misunderstanding and cult-like abuse. Led by a self-proclaiming thug that touts violent tendencies as a badge of honor, he sports the colors that have married me to children's funerals for so long that I have now come to know how inescapable these tragedies are since they are taken so lightly by so many who are protected forever behind the very veil that I myself have provided - "They just don't understand".
My angst over the injustices that have caused me to see so many dead bodies is so fierce and fiery, that it has mentally incapacitated me. I am forever locked in a dungeon of despair and anguish over things I could never have prevented in the first place.
All I can tell you anymore for sure, is that you nave no idea how terrifying and horrible it is out there. All because no one really cares about matters of life and death anymore. All they care about is themselves.
Copyright 2014 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.