The Meek

Source: The meek.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone can just inherently be brave?

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone can be raised where bravery is encouraged? At least so that the society would show less tolerance on ignorance and injustice.

Oh, you think that’s how it goes in the world we live in? Well, think again.
It’s probably only something that is part of the school motto. Not so much in their curriculum. Not to mention that we all should scrape off whatever we learn at school to fit in the real world, even only for survival.

In fact, my mother did warn me once of how the acceptance and support to bravery in this world is a big, fat farce.

I remembered her frantic face when she saw my black eye at the teacher’s office. The kid who gave it to me–Bruce was his name, quite befittingly–and his mother was seated to my left. The principal went through what happened, and Bruce’s mother scolded him as she apologized to my mother and offered to pay for the medical expenses and all. My mother responded modestly while she kept her attention on my stoic demeanor.

We walked home hand-in-hand with each other, not saying a word. As we passed a nearby park, my mother broke the silence and decided it’s been a while since we watch the sun set. So she bought us an ice cream each and we sat on the bench across the duck pond, right at the direction of the almost setting sun.

“Your father would probably be proud that you chose not to punch him back, if that’s what you’re wonderin’,” she suddenly remarked, “he’d quote the Bible for it, too. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.”

I looked up at her and finally found my voice, “Do they really, Momma?”

She went silent briefly and said, “The meek don’t inherit the Earth, son. That’s just what the bold tell them, so they’ll get out of the way.”

She deliberately continued, “By somehow convincing the meek that they will have the world without having to work hard for it, the bold is doing half its part to maintain their position as the rulers of the world. By telling the meek to wait in complacency, the bold proves themselves superior.”

“So, you think I should fight Bruce back?” I inquired.

“Oh no,” my mother quickly answered, “I was just telling you your father will pick the wrong verse from the Scripture, take it out of context just to put a smile back on your face.”

She turned from her seat to put her hands over my shoulders and said, “I will say to you that not punching Bruce back does not mean you’re meek. Actually, you being punched simply because he doesn’t like being told off by you after he said girls are weak, I’d say that’s quite a brave thing to do. And I’m proud of you for that.”

I smiled back at her when I saw the beam on her face. The pain on my eye reminded me, “But it seemed like some people don’t like it when we are brave, Momma.”

She saw me cupping my blackeye with my hand, and said we’ll go to the clinic to have the doctor see to it, “but you’re right. People don’t like it when anyone stand up to them. Sometimes it leaves a bruise right here,” she pointed at my eye, then she hovered her finger to my chest, “sometimes, it leaves a bruise in here.”

“And sometimes,” she quietly added, “it’s hard to get away from constantly feeling the pain that maybe it’s easier to keep our heads down.”

I scrunched my eyebrows together trying to make sense what she just said, but then she brushed it off as she ran her hand through my hair saying, “Oh, what am I thinking? Maybe you’ll understand later when you’re older. But I really hope you wouldn’t have to go through it.”

We stopped by the clinic to get my eye fixed and went home for dinner. Little did I know that my mother was threatened to lose her job for 10 years at a nearby hotel because she was defending her coworker over a false theft report from a high-level guest. The coworker ended up resigning to prevent my mother for losing her job and herself from further embarrassment. In the end, she even told my mother, “At least I beat them up from firing me. And now I get to spend more time with the kids, so it’s okay, Jane. Don’t worry about me.”

If it weren’t for me and my sick grandmother, my mother would probably resign in a heartbeat, but she held on for another six months until she found another line of work and quit the hotel job. It took her a while because in a small town the word flew in no time to spread the news that my mother is a “ballsy” employee, and no employers would make such a person as first choice on their team.

Years after, I had never forgotten how grateful I am for her, and the conversation we had that day on the park. Not because it reminded me to stand up for what is right, but that it kept replaying on my mind whenever I need to settle with silence and submission. I tried to convince myself that whenever I don’t disagree with my superior’s terrible idea, I did the logical thing to keep my job and pay my rent on time; that I am in no place to deny the comfort that my salary has sustained me with. Still, I felt guilty whenever I remembered I don’t argue back because I don’t want to be the “ballsy” one–because the they sooner or later will lose their job and be forced to be content with something with far too little prospect. It is not just “easier to keep our heads down” sometimes, but most of the time–I understand it now, and more.

Dad was probably right. I am the meek one, aren’t I, Momma?

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