“But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be a shepherd.”
— Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction
Man, I hate it when somebody else’s mistake creates a situation that tests my morals.
Without going into too much detail, I recently discovered that someone had plagiarized heavily from something I wrote several years ago.
A year ago, I would have eaten the culprit for breakfast. But — to borrow another line from Pulp Fiction — he “happened to pull this s*** while I’m in a transitional period,” so I can’t really bare my fangs here. I have to try to see past this guy’s actions to the real man — the honest, innocent child of God — underneath, and I have to find a way to address this erroneous behavior without tearing the man himself to shreds.
Between my dad and my practitioner (who both give awesome advice), I’ve come up with what I think is a reasonable solution. But it’s messier and more time-consuming than I really want to deal with, and it requires me to treat this guy with something like “tough love,” as the expression goes, which isn’t nearly as quick and easy as either mauling him to death or letting him off the hook entirely.
I hate it when people do things to provoke me — things so offensive and immoral that I physically recoil against them — and then I’m the one who has to grab a machete and go whacking through a whole jungle of anger and outrage and confusion just to find that high road I’m supposed to be taking. It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to deal with somebody else’s problem.
But I guess those problems wouldn’t come into my sphere of influence if I couldn’t handle them and didn’t have anything to learn from them. I don’t turn away hungry cats that show up on my doorstep, even if they duck away or hiss when I approach. So I guess I can’t really turn away people who are starving for higher thought, either, can I?