Your next step in progression was interesting. You were an auditor for your government living what seemed to be one of your ordinary stable lives. You seemed to have everything going for you. You had a good job, plenty of money, security, a nice wife and three children. People respected you and often came to you with their problems. You were active in a religion and your fellow members looked upon you as a "pillar" in the organization.
It almost seemed that everyone was pointing their fingers at you and saying something like: "Look there goes the perfect man, a solid citizen, a defender of the faith, a supporter of the government, a wonderful father and husband."
It seemed to you that the women that you knew were saying to their husbands in private: "Why can't you be more like him, someone I can depend on."
In fact all through your life no one ever seemed to say anything bad about you. Everyone thought you were the ideal. You felt that other men were jealous, but never spoke their minds and feelings. This gnawed at you again and again. You wanted to know what they really felt. You craved for honesty, but you did not know how to get it out of people and worst of all you did not know how to get it out of yourself.
Something was wrong here. Everything was just too perfect. Inside there was a storm brewing. You felt feelings of frustration, hate, restlessness, guilt and depression and knew not where they came from. Now you understand, but then you did not. You had gotten in a rut through this series of secure lives and your soul was putting pressure on you to make some changes. You had to do something good or bad, for you could drift no longer.
The first thing you did was quit your secure job and went into a risky business venture. This startled all your acquaintances, but they still seemed to have faith in you. They all felt that you were so perfect that you would succeed at whatever you did. They expected wonderful things of you.
Inside you were full of fears. You did not know that you could succeed and you felt tremendous pressure because of the faith of your friends. What if you should fail and let them down? What would they think then?
You were not experienced at being totally responsible for a business and made every mistake possible. Your savings were fast disappearing. Bills were piling up and you had little income. You looked ahead at your probable future and you were filled with horror. It was only a matter of time before you would run out of money and then what would you do? What would people think of the perfect man then?
You started to panic and went back to the government to see if you could get your old job back. It was taken. You looked for other work. Nothing seemed to be available.
You were full of fears and insecurities, but did not even want to share these with your family. You wanted them to continue to be able to depend on you. Nevertheless, your wife was aware of your worsening financial situation and got a part-time job to help out.
Now your religion taught you that any man worth his salt can provide for his family without his wife working. Many of your friend's wives worked, but you were not just any man. You were looked upon as the example. It was very humiliating to you that your wife had to work. You felt very frustrated and angry with yourself and began to transfer your anger toward her. You lost your temper at her and the children and blamed her for all your problems. You accused her of not supporting you. The business disaster was all her fault.
You deeply hurt her feelings. You subconsciously realized this, but instead of doing something about it you only wallowed in your guilt and then blindly struck out with more force later. You started throwing furniture, dishes, kicking doors and putting holes in walls. Several times you got so angry you thought you may choke your wife to death. Your erratic behavior frightened her, but she was actually unbending in her support thinking that all would be well as soon as you got a good job again.
While your world was falling apart you continued to put on the facade of being a successful pillar of the community and religion. Every time someone asked how your business was going you would smile confidently and say "great!" Why did you say this? Because you knew that this was what they wanted to hear. You found that you could not tell them anything else but what they wanted to hear and you hated yourself for it. You felt like self-destructing every time someone asked you how things were going. You sometimes wished you were God and could command them to all shut up and be still.
What really got to you is that you saw the day approaching when you may have to go to your church or government and ask for food or financial help. That is something that widows and little old ladies do, not a strong man like you. You saw that everyone would pity you and know that you failed. How could they respect you anymore? How could your family respect you? How would your children feel?
What really got to you was when your daughter asked for a new dress for school. It was not an unreasonable request. She did not ask for a lot because she knew you were short. She only wanted one dress. Any father worth his salt should be able to provide that, you thought. It hurt you very deeply to have to tell her no, but what hurt even more was that you felt that food may be the next on the list of shortages.
This you couldn't handle. The vision of your family being on welfare or church support was intolerable for you. You wouldn't let it happen. You made a decision.
Your religion taught you that if you lived the laws of the church and did your best that you would go to heaven. As far as you could see all of your family would go to heaven if they were to die right now and heaven would be a lot better than suffering the shame they would go through because of you.
You considered the thought: "If I were to kill my family and myself what would happen?" You added up the pluses and minuses. On the plus side your wife and children would be taken care of by God and live happy in eternity, but an even greater plus than this is that all of you would escape the pity and disappointment of your associates. You would not have to worry about providing or the lack of money. You would escape all embarrassment because of failure.
The only negative thing resulting from the matter is that you may go to hell. But then you thought that hell could not be much worse than what you were going through now.
As you thought about the matter over and over you could not talk yourself out of doing the deed. Early one morning you took a weapon and killed your wife and children. Then you cut your own wrists and laid down to die.
A neighbor heard screams and called the authorities. They arrived soon enough to save you, but your family was all dead. You did not awake to a hell on the other side that you were prepared to face. Instead you awoke to a hell on earth that you intended to never see again.
That which was your greatest fear was that which you had to face. Within hours everyone knew that you were not Mr. Perfect. Far from it. In their eyes you had done the most despicable crime one could imagine.
In a way you almost felt a sense of relief. Now there was nothing for you to live up to. There were no more facades, no more roll-playing. Now you could be the real you - whatever that was.
A few of your friends condemned you, but most felt sorry for you and that was what you dreaded most. You did not want anyone to feel sorry for you. That is what motivated you toward the crime in the first place. You wanted to avoid facing the possibility of anyone thinking anything else about you, except that you were a strong self-sufficient individual who could handle all situations.
Several who visited you in the hospital and prison had compassion for you that touched you and you wept together. This reality that you dreaded so much became that which you appreciated more than anything. Why? Because most people were extremely abusive toward you and many bitter remarks were made. The few who did have some compassion were like a warm light in a winter's night.
You learned that true compassion and help from others was not to be feared, but appreciated. You never dreamed that this would have been important to you.
The rest of this life was a tough one for you. You spent the next twenty years in prison. Being behind bars and living with the negative element of society was not as bad as living with yourself and the consequence of your actions. You missed you wife and children beyond that which words can express and your eyes clearly awakened to the fact that you made a grave mistake.
It was not your right to play God and deprive them of their right to life no matter how right you thought the end may be. You realized that any suffering your family may have had to face though living could have been nothing compared to what you were now going through.
You spent these many years with hardened criminals. Most of these men justified their actions and accepted others who were with them in defying society. But even these men realized that you committed a crime that could not be accepted. They were very abusive toward you and several times you came close to losing your life.
By the time you were released you learned another important lesson, the value of a true friend. Of all of your previous supporters and associates in the community only one came to visit you during the twenty years and was still there for you when you got out. You vowed within yourself to remember how his friendship made you feel and maybe be there for someone else when they needed you.
You made the best of the few remaining years you had left, but you could not escape the stigma of your dire deed. Everywhere you went your reputation proceeded you and the ones who did not openly condemn you seemed to be whispering about you behind your back.
You did not realize it, but you were learning a very valuable lesson here. You gained the ability to remain centered in the midst of extremely negative and antagonistic people. This virtue you would amplify and use to your advantage in many lifetimes to come.
Perhaps the greatest lesson you learned in this life is that you did not lose contact with your inner self, even though you had committed a great misdeed. You came to the realization that you had committed a great wrong and had a strong desire to redeem yourself. You were in a state of true "repentance." This desire to amend for your wrongs would stay with you and help you pay off much karma in lifetimes to come.
Your inner psyche became aware of another great truth. That is we are slow to learn under normal conditions. We learn our greatest lessons when we are under the greatest stress and pain. You learned more valuable lessons in this painful life than in any of the previous ones. Even though you accumulated some additional debts to pay off you also garnered some valuable assets to help you balance the ledger in the future.
When you died everyone talked about "the broken old man" who they were sure was going to hell. Little did they realize that everyone makes similar mistakes at one time or another in their series of lives and that we all must rise above them. You had now broken your descent into mediocrity and were prepared to progress again, even at the risk of pain, ridicule and making additional mistakes.
-- End Of Chapter Nine --
Index Of Chapters
Copyright 2002 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved