Saturday, June 13, 2009

Welcome to the Party

Communism. I read about its political doctrine and mission statement as I delivered newspapers in Howland, Maine as a kid. I feared Communism and Communists. Those thoughts emerged from my memory as I sat in conversation with several Party members. Some of them men and women who held places of authority and significant influence within the government of China.

I was surprised that in every one of those settings I never once experienced fear. True, I knew that my goals and sense of purpose in life were very different, and in some cases in direct conflict with the person on the other side of the desk or conference room. And I did not really want to engage in a conversation that would drill too deep into those differences for the time being. Words were carefully weighed and considered before they were spoken, but I never felt fear. On the contrary, there was exhilaration. Few times have I possessed a stronger confidence that the foundation I have built my life on, and the passion drives my life is, in the end, indestructible, rugged, profound, and capable of standing on its own merit. Each encounter opened my mind and heart to broader perspectives that were fresh and challenging and troubling and worth taking the next few months, or the rest of my life, to ponder, sort through, and consider. Was it possible that a script was developing for a much bigger stage and production in which I would play a part.

Is that arrogance?

No. Not in my estimation. But it does require me to return to my statement about being free from fear, because there actually were times during each of those encounters when a palpable fear -- a fear I could almost taste and smell swept over and through me -- an almost audible voice. . .

It emanated from an Evil presence that chided me to embrace a false sense of humility -- that same sick humility that convinces so many to live a terribly small life.

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