There was grandfather, his little
grandson often came in the evenings to sit at his knee and ask the many
questions that children ask. One day the grandson came to his grandfather
with a look of anger on his face.
Grandfather said, "Come, sit,
tell me what has happened today."
The child sat and leaned his chin
on his Grandfather's knee. Looking up into the wrinkled, nut brown face
and the kind dark eyes; the child's anger turned to quiet tears.
The boy said, "I went to the town
today with my father, to trade the furs he has collected over the past
several months. I was happy to go, because father said that since I had
helped him with the trapping, I could get something for me. Something that
I was so excited to be in the trading
post, I have not been there before. I looked at many things and finally
found a metal knife! It was small, but good size for me, so father
got it for me."
Here the boy laid his head against
his grandfather's knee and became silent. The Grandfather, softly placed
his hand on the boys raven hair and said, "and then what happened?". Without
lifting his head, the boy said, "I went outside to wait for father, and
to admire my new knife in the sunlight. Some town boys came by and saw
me, they got all around me and starting saying bad things.
They called me dirty and stupid and
said that I should not have such a fine knife. The largest of these boys,
pushed me back and I fell over one of the other boys. I dropped my knife
and one of them snatched it up and they all ran away, laughing."
Here the boy's anger returned, "I
hate them, I hate them all!"
The Grandfather, with eyes that have
seen too much, lifted his grandson's face so his eyes looked into the boys.
Grandfather said, "Let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great
hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does
not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would
die. I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there
are two wolves inside me, one is white and one is black. The White Wolf
is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does
not take offense when no offense was intended. But will only fight when
it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But, the Black Wolf, is full of anger.
The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone,
all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate
are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes it is hard to live with
these two wolves inside me, for both of them seek to dominate my spirit."
The boy, looked intently into his
Grandfather's eyes, and asked, "Which one wins Grandfather?"
The Grandfather, smiled and said,
Thanks to Flo Johnasen for todays "Thought"
"The God Naomi (of the Book of Ruth)
names as the source of her desolation
and bitterness is the God Ruth is prepared to embrace. Although she too is a
mourner, Ruth is able to turn to Naomi's God... The power of the mourner
standing up to say Kiddish Yatom, the prayer of the mourner in the midst of
a community at prayer, is that the very person who has the right to be the
angriest at God is the one uttering God's praises. And by so doing the
mourner affirms the praise of God for others in the community."
- Patricia Karlin-Neuman -