Thursday, May 10, 2007
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
I have realized something today and I don't like it. I only hope it is something I can change before I morph completely into something I am not liking a single bit.
I have realized that I am becoming like Javert.
This must not happen.
Javert was, of course, not a bad guy. Javert was a policeman who was throughly convinced that if every single person simply obeyed the law and did what was right, the whole world would be better off. He was, of course, correct.
The kicker was, and is, that we are all human. Things happen. We make mistakes. We all make mistakes. And people who make mistakes, even big ones, can still be nice people. We are allowed to love people who screw up.
Javert never screwed up. He was law-abiding to the nth degree. He was an excellent policeman, showed no favoritism whatsoever, and cut no slack. Ever. He stood for justice. Mercy had no place in his heart. And justice without mercy can be a very harsh thing.
There is more than one kind of justice, of course. Absolute justice, where motive and intent play no purpose, is harsh justice. One gets exactly what one deserves for whatever breach of decency, ie broken law. If you killed someone, you were a murderer, and all murderers get the same punishment. Things like 'self defense' carry no weight. People who kill are murderers, period. No slack.
Perfect justice, on the other hand, is tempered with mercy. It still requires that people pay for their mistakes, but it takes into account motive. One who kills out of self-defense is not the same thing as one who kills out of greed, or hatred. Stealing a piece of bread to save the life of a starving child is not the same thing as stealing the payroll from the corner deli to buy drugs.
Javert stalked Jean Valjean for twenty years because Valjean stole a loaf of bread. It didn't matter to Javert that Valjean served twenty years on a chain gang for that. It mattered only, to Javert, that Valjean, after being released from prison, broke his parole and moved away. Javert considered Valjean nothing but a thief, because when one steals, one is a thief. A thief is a thief, and the fact that a loaf of bread might have saved a life meant nothing. Those who steal are thieves, period. Forever and always, nothing but a thief. No slack.
It was only when Valjean showed mercy to Javert that Javert's eyes were opened. And upon discovering that the philosophy on which his entire life had been based was flawed, and on being shown mercy by the man he had shown no mercy to, Javert committed suicide.
Seeing children suffer year after year because of their parents tends to make a person very hardnosed about decisions other people make. Nobody has that right. We don't know what is going on in these homes. We can only assume, and assumptions are sometimes wrong.
And even when the assumptions are correct, we must still remember that we are all flawed, and that we all make mistakes. And that most of us are nice people in spite of it. Those who are not genuinely deserve Javert's justice, but those people are rare.
There, out in the darkness,
A fugitive running,
Fallen from grace.
Fallen from grace.
God be my witness:
I never shall yield
Till we come face to face.
Till we come face to face.
He knows his way in the dark.
Mine is the way of the Lord!
And those who follow the path of the righteous
Shall have their reward!
And if they fall
As Lucifer fell,
In your multitudes,
Scarce to be counted,
Filling the darkness
With order and light!
You are the sentinels,
Silent and sure,
Keeping watch in the night!
Keeping watch in the night.
You know your place in the sky!
You hold your course and your aim!
And each in your season
Returns and returns
And is always the same!
And if you fall as Lucifer fell,
You fall in flame!
And so it has been, and so it is written
On the doorway to paradise,
That those who falter and those who fall
Must pay the price!
Lord, let me find him
That I may see him
Safe behind bars!
I will never rest
This I swear,
This I swear by the stars!
No, I do not want to be like Javert. I want to be like Valjean, who knew how to forgive, and who knew how to keep a promise no matter what hardship befell him personally, and who knew the real meaning of love.
Don't think for a minute that I won't call CPS on someone's abusive sorry ass if I feel it's necessary, but I do think I need to back off on other people until I become perfect myself.
Don't hold your breath, because that just ain't gonna happen any time soon. I've learned an important lesson, though.
We meet again.
You've hungered for this all your life;
Take your revenge!
How right you should kill with a knife!
(Valjean cuts the ropes which bind Javert.)
You talk too much,
Your life is safe in my hands.
Get out of here.
Valjean, take care!
I'm warning you...
Clear out of here.
Once a thief, forever a thief
What you want you always steal!
You would trade your life for mine.
Yes, Valjean, you want a deal!
Shoot me now for all I care!
If you let me go, beware,
You'll still answer to Javert!
You are wrong, and always have been wrong.
I'm a man, no worse than any man.
You are free, and there are no conditions,
No bargains or petitions.
There's nothing that I blame you for
You've done your duty, nothing more.
If I come out of this alive, you'll find me
At number fifty-five Rue Plumet
No doubt our paths will cross again.
Who is this man?
What sort of devil is he
To have me caught in a trap
And chose to let me go free?
It was his hour at last
To put a seal on my fate
Wipe out the past
And wash me clean off the slate!
All it would take was a flick of his knife.
Vengeance was his and he gave me back my life!
Damned if I'll live in the debt of a thief
Damned if I'll yield at the end of the chase
I am the law and the law is not mocked
I'll spit his pity right back in his face
There is nothing on Earth that we share
It is either Valjean or Javert!
How can I now allow this man
To hold dominion over me?
This desperate man that I have hunted
He gave me my life. He gave me freedom.
I should have perished by his hand
It was his right
It was my right to die as well
Instead I live. . .but live in hell
And my thoughts fly apart;
Can this man be believed?
Shall his sins be forgiven?
Shall his crimes be reprieved?
And must I now begin to doubt
Who never doubted all these years?
My heart is stone and still it trembles
The world I have known is lost in shadow
Is he from heaven or from hell?
And does he know
That granting me my life today
This man has killed me, even so?
I am reaching but I fall
And the stars are black and cold
As I stare into the void
Of a world that cannot hold
I'll escape now from that world
From the world of Jean Valjean
There is nowhere I can turn
There is no way to go on.
Ah, Javert. Too late smart. Too soon dead.
No. I don't want to be like Javert. And when I tend to be, please hit me. Hard.
And then do it again. And again. Please.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:40 PM | |