By my dear friend Christy at Dandelion Markings
The deciding point in life, most often, is not the cheery hand outstretched, offering a squeeze, offering a palliative sweet to taste. It’s the outstretched hand that has just struck you on the cheek, leaving a sting, leaving its imprint of embodied hatred. And then time slows, for you’re standing on the edge of the knife with several possible decisions.
Do you play the golden rule on your heart and leave the imprint of your own knuckles on the other’s face? Try to remove the sting with your self-made balm of “justice”? Do you, perhaps, more dangerous than anything, shoot shards of ice through your attacker’s eyes and walk away to nurse your hurt, bitterness, and hidden rage? Feel the adrenaline rush of victimization? Or do you, quite simply and with the most pain, turn to offer up your other cheek? Your soul left open and vulnerable?
The simplest action will most often turn standing on the edge of the knife into plunging the blade into your own heart.
In the theater world, a certain hierarchy exists between actors’ characters. Acting coach Robert Carne explains that onstage, a reflection of society, each actor has a certain role status he holds, relative to the other characters. The greater one’s vulnerability, the greater his status. The more guarded he is, the lower his status. This is because, in essence, the vulnerable character is sending the rather paradoxical message that nothing can harm him. He lowers his defenses, thereby opening himself up to attack that he knows he can withstand. He becomes the great king who refuses to stoop to retaliation. InLes Miserables, Javert is mentally, psychologically, and spiritually undone by Valjean’s mercy because he knows that, in reality, Valjean has become the better man. Defender of “justice” that he is, the thought of the status reversal is unbearable.
And so, left in that agonizing place on the knife, the real deciding point is whether or not your heart is open to be stabbed and, being so hurt, open to be healed and open to accept the untouchable status of Love. In that royalty, the awful sting is transformed into the wonderful kiss of ultimate Love.