eastwind journals 175By Bernie Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org This is an excerpt from an upcoming book titled 100 Virtues, inspired by a true story.
What would make a gentle Palestinian woman, knowing the stone would not make a difference, go into a futile rage of tears?
In the annals of the Philippine-American War at the turn of the 19th century, the Muslim warrior, after an elaborate dawn ritual similar to the Kamikaze, would single-handedly attack the Americans armed only with a bolo. Even as the Americans rained 38-caliber bullets on him, he kept coming until he killed one or two Americans before he died. This was how the 45-caliber was invented. The Muslim warrior was spiritually focused on killing the enemy before his death. It is a sacred endeavor that defies logic.
Blind rage in our lives is similar, although there is no sacredness to it. Often, blind rage makes us insensitive to what is really going on. We become numb and out of touch with reality. We live temporarily in another world, where anarchy and violence reign.
There was a teenage girl named Ruby who was in her senior year at a prestigious university. Ruby is the daughter of a powerful mayor, Reggie, who was feared by many. Ruby knocked at the door of the study of her dad. There was no reply, so Ruby went in and stood nervously in front of her dad.RUBY I got something to tell you, dad. DAD Can it wait? I’m busy. The election campaign is in full swing. RUBY (Defiantly) No, I’m sorry, it can’t wait. DAD (Slamming his pen against the desk). What is it? RUBY I don’t know how to say it. DAD (Raising his voice.) Say it, say it. I don’t have time for this. You insist in talking to me, but you can’t say it. Make up your mind. RUBY Okay, I’m sorry. Later. (Heading towards the door.) DAD No, no, no. Come back here, young lady. Say it. Say it. I’m all ears. RUBY (Sobbing.) Dad, I’m pregnant. From his seat, Reggie froze momentarily, then picked up his pen and threw it at Ruby, who quickly ducked. He stood up, rushed to her daughter, and pointed a finger, touching her nose. At every word, at every phrase of his blind rage, he pushed his finger against her nose. Ruby took it all without a word, without squirming. She stood her ground, but now her nose was bleeding. When the father saw the blood, he backed away a bit, but continued his tirade. DAD Two months before graduation? Great. Good work. Congratulations. Four years of time, effort and money wasted. RUBY It was like this …. DAD I don’t want to hear it. Go upstairs, pack your clothes. You’re leaving right now for your grandma. RUBY But dad, it is alright. I have a solution. DAD There is no solution. It’s all a problem. Pack your bags and go. Rudolf will take you. RUBY There is no problem, dad. I got it all worked out. DAD (Screaming.) Go, go. Get out of my sight. You’re getting an abortion. You can’t destroy my political image this way. Go. RUBY No, I’m not having an abortion. I want the baby. DAD You are getting an abortion, whether you like it or not. If I have to drug you and drag you, I will. You have no choice. RUBY (Defiantly.) No way. This is my body, and I decide what happens to it. DAD It’s my political career. You can’t destroy my life with your wild lust. Get out of here. RUBY I will go to Bishop Donovan. DAD He can’t help you. You are a whore, and I disown you. I will schedule the abortion to be done at grandma’s the day after tomorrow. Now, go, go, go. Don’t make me hit you. Just go. Ruby trembled, weeping uncontrollably and left the study. In the evening, she was at her grandma’s, crying on her shoulder until she ran out of tears. The next day, in the dead of night, three ambulances came quietly. They moved equipment in silence into her grandma’s house. They were moving half a hospital in. There were two doctors and three nurses. Grandma was helpless to control the situation, even in her own house which her mayor-son was paying for. GRANDMA (In a last ditch effort to avoid the abortion.) Son, this is not the way to do it. This is a heinous crime. REGGIE Ruby committed the heinous crime, not I. GRANDMA Do you know what she told me? REGGIE I don’t wanna hear it, grandma. GRANDMA We can contain the problem. REGGIE No, we can’t. I don’t wanna hear it. For the second time, Reggie refused to listen, first to his daughter Ruby, and now to her grandma. Blind rage removed the virtue of sensitivity in him, and replaced it with blindness, numbness, and coldness. Ruby did not resist. She was sedated, and the abortion took place quickly. The ambulance, towing back half a hospital, left in the darkness before dawn. Reggie left right after. In the dead silence, the dawn started to creep in, but the darkness remained in Ruby’s heart. A week after, Ruby lay on the floor of her bedroom dead. She poisoned herself. Reggie was totally devastated. He could not sleep for weeks. He dropped his campaign activities and became recluse out of sheer guilt. At the height of his depression, he decided to visit Ruby’s grandmother. REGGIE It’s all my fault, mom. I killed my own daughter. GRANDMA Yes, son, you killed her. I’m not going to comfort you. I will in fact make you feel more guilty. Go ahead, leave, because you won’t like what you’re gonna hear from me. REGGIE I can take it, mother. Go ahead. Crucify me. I deserve it. GRANDMA Ruby poured her heart to me. I know the whole story. I was trying to tell you frantically but you were blind with rage. You were insensitive. You were out of touch from reality. You refused to listen. Your rage sapped away your sensitivity, your ability to see things as they were. REGGIE Go ahead, mom. Tell me. GRANDMA First, Ruby talked to her school counsellor. He permitted her to finish her senior year and graduate since she was just one month pregnant and nobody in school would notice. Her pregnancy was to be kept secret by the school to let her graduate without shame. REGGIE (In tears.) My gosh. Stop, stop. I don’t wanna hear the rest. GRANDMA The boy was her classmate and they loved each other like Romeo and Juliet. REGGIE Stop. GRANDMA The heck. Hear the rest, my stupid son. He promised to marry her later, after graduation, and after he gets a job. REGGIE I’m leaving. GRANDMA (Facing him squarely.) No you’re not. It’s my turn to point a finger on your nose. This time, your nose will not bleed but your heart will. The boy promised to marry her later, after graduation, and after he gets a job. It was a perfect setup, a perfect solution. But you had to mess it up with your blind rage. REGGIE (Sobbing.) Rage is always blind. I’m sorry, mom. GRANDMA Don’t say sorry to me. Say it to your dead daughter and to your unborn grandson. Say sorry to the Lord. Wallow in darkness. REGGIE I deserve it. I am a fool. GRANDMA By the way, just to rub more salt on your wounds, not only did you lose a daughter, a grandson, and a son-in-law, you also lost your career. You dropped your campaign. Your political career is over. REGGIE Mother, I beg you, stop. GRANDMA The boy was at the top of the graduating class, handsome, sharp, a leader. It was impossible for Ruby to not love and adore him. Do you know who was at second place? (Reggie did not respond.) (Grandma is In tears.) Ruby was the second placer. Your daughter was a genius, a leader, and as pretty as her grandma when I was younger. And now she’s dead. You killed her. Let that be in your conscience till you die. REGGIE Mother, I beg of you. GRANDMA Did she not also beg? And did I not also beg? Did you not disown her? I am not disowning you. I’m not gonna go down to your level. But you now have to wallow in your bad karma.
Because of blind rage, Reggie lost everything, his career, his family. He became an alcohol. He lost all his wealth. He wanted to be poor to appease his guilt. It was a form of semi-suicide. But his guilt was not appeased. Poverty, in fact, intensified his guilt.
The virtue of sensitivity involves a powerful emotional quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence. Reggie, in his blindness, was not even aware of his insensitivity. The virtue of sensitivity has layers or degrees. It is a constant battle in life to let your sensitivity reign.