Today in the Sandbox


Flatter a man, and nothing ever happens.  In effect, you’ve lied to him.  You only gave him the strength to stay where he is. 

Speak to him about how his pride is condemned, and the chances are pretty good, he will hate you for life.  Again you’ve accomplished nothing, but at least you told him the truth.  And the “nothing” produced, belongs to him.

Or you could choose the road that most people take.  You could simply stick your head in the sand and refuse to help one another see.

There are three approaches to our plight as human beings: flattery, bold truth, or ignorance.  If there is another one, somebody has to show it to me.

Most of the time people play in the sandbox together, and refrain from war, by busying themselves with the toys at hand.  Until a squabble develops over a certain toy.  Then the three approaches come to bear with immediacy.

One of the protagonist will obviously be in the wrong.  I’m not saying the other was right.  But one of them abandoned his own toy with greed for what lay in the other man’s hand.  That’s pretty much the sum of what causes wars in the world.

Now let’s look at the options.  Maybe we will flatter the man and say something like, “Wow you’re a good looking and strong fellow.  Perhaps you would play with this toy better than me”. 

Success!  The man gives you I look of filthy distain, grabs your toy, sticks his nose up in the sky, and walks away. 

Well maybe you weren’t very successful.  Because now you’re sitting there trying to make a sand castle out of dry sand.  But at least you live to play another day.

Yeah, you live to play another day.  He gets what he wants because your flattery worked.  But you have not helped the next poor bloke.  In fact you made it worse on the next guy.  Now Mr Pompous, the thief, believes he deserves to win.  How cool is that?  I feel horribly sorry for the subsequent victims. 

Now since this is my story, I’m going to inject a lover of ignorance as his next victim.  I was going to put a truth teller here.  But that doesn’t follow suit with Hollywood’s playbook.  And I was afraid you would think it was the end of the story.

Mister pompous looks over and sees the toy in the hand of the one who loves ignorance.  (The guy really should have been born an Ostrich.  But God decided to withhold the feathers.) 

The second Mr Pompous’ shadow darkens the toy,  the lover of ignorance finds something immediately more pressing to do.  Leaving the toy unattended, as if by mindless action, Pompous gets what he wants.

Bolstered again.  “I really do deserve everything!”  Just peachy.

But you know who comes next.  I only have four people in this story.  Two of them have already given up, and one of them is still quite active.

There’s Mr Truth Teller. playing with his toy.  He saw what happened to the other two.  In his nature, he determined to stand his ground. 

Most people would call him an idiot.  Because there’s a very good chance he’s going to get buried in the sandbox.  But it simply isn’t his nature to care.

He’s not a hero.  That’s how people are going to paint him though.  He just leans hard on the truth.  That’s his home.  And he’ll stay in it, even if it burns to the ground.  “Bring it on Mr Pompous.”

The shadow arrives, and it’s as if the owner of the toy is blind and deaf.  And when the filthy hand reaches to grab, it receives a sharp slap on the wrist.  The statement of war is pronounced.  And the sandbox gets really quiet.

Mr Truth Teller stands up.  If you look real close, you can see his knees shake a little bit.  But he sticks his face right into near proximity with Mr Pompous.  And then he says something that saves his life.

“You see all these people around us?  They lied to you.  They told you you deserve to have everything you want.  Well I’m going to tell you the truth.  This toy belongs to me.

Now you stand in front of me, faced with a dilemma.  You can slap me to the ground and take what you want.  But those who lied to you are watching. 

When you slap me, you just might wake them up.  And there’s a whole lot more of them then there is of you.  You might want to give that some thought before you raise that greedy hand.”

Then Mr Truth Teller gives Mr Pompous a stern sharp nod, and goes back down to play with his toy.  I’m not going to finish the story here by telling you what happened next. 

Chaos does what chaos does.  You know the odds as well as I.  And you fully understand the risk Mr Truth Teller is taking.  But you also perceive it is for your good. 

There’s a good chance Mr Pompous will back off.  There’s also a good chance, that if he strikes Mr Truth Teller, all of you will stand up and pummel him into the sand.

But there are greater odds that he will strike Mr Truth Teller.  And you will do nothing in response.  One of you might dial 911.  But you won’t stand up and get in his face.  There’s a reason why those kinds of headlines are sensational.  It’s really rare when people do the right thing.

By His Grace

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