Revenge has been a basic human motivation since Noah sailed his ark past the drowning jerks who picked him last in high school Phys Ed, and yelled, “Good luck on the swim team, morons!” I hate that revenge is even a fleeting thought in my sinful heart and mind, but I admit at times I have played out various scenes from Clint Eastwood westerns that feature the people who took my brother as the bad guys getting what’s coming to them in the end.
My general rule of thumb when it comes to revenge is to not give into my first impulse to throw a punch. Primarily, that’s because the only person I could beat up had her birthday announced by this year’s version of Willard Scott on the morning news. But sometimes enough is enough.
I’ll be returning to Missouri at the end of this month. I’ll be filled with thoughts of my brother and again get a ring-side seat to watch my parent’s grief over the magnificent loss we all feel because Rick is no longer with us. I’ll be in the same town where my brother’s house still stands. His shameless ex-wife and the man she had an affair with live there. The duplicitous pair have never applied for a loan for the home in their own name. It’s still in my brother’s name. I have phoned the bank that holds the loan numerous times to apprise them of the situation, but they are disinclined to do anything. The Veterans Administration are disinclined to do anything about it either. Loans to remodel the home have been secured in Rick’s name through the V-A twice in the last seven years. It’s shameful and tragic.
Yesterday, I spoke with a friend I attended school with in the small Missouri town where my family lives. We talked briefly about my brother and the wrong that was done to him. She shared with me how decent she thought my brother was and how good he was to her son. She was kind, but in the end volunteered that she couldn’t take sides. “I’m Switzerland,” she said. I wasn’t asking her to pick sides. We were simply talking, but the “I’m Switzerland” comment was like a knife in my heart. I immediately thought of the townspeople in the movie High Plains Drifter watching Clint Eastwood’s character being beaten to death and doing nothing. I guess they were just Switzerland too. I suspect if her son had been falsely accused of child molestation by his wife and step-daughter because the wife wanted out of the marriage my friend would want people to stand up for her boy and tell authorities how decent they knew him to be. I guess the “I’m Switzerland” absolves one from doing what’s morally right.
At the end of the conversation I realized the person on the other end of the phone wasn’t really a friend, just someone I used to know. Just someone who finds it easier to be Switzerland than to stand up for a person whose life is about to end.
What happened to my brother has had such far reaching effects. I feel the hurt of it all just as keenly today as I did twelve years ago, five years ago, and yesterday. It infuriates me and I dream of some kind of movie like revenge ending. If it weren’t for the Lord living in my heart… I do want His ending more than anything.
These days people have two options when someone has harmed them. They can beat the crud out of that person, or they can hire a lawyer. Hey, I got a better idea. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Next time somebody does wrong, let’s beat the crud out of a lawyer.