Who is the Strongest?

Who is strongest?

I just read the obituary of the Mother of one of my classmates in Marshall High School, Marshall Illinois, the class of 1967… That will give you a clue as to how old I am….  My classmate’s name is Dan Garner, and his mother, who just died is Emma Faye Garner.  She was born in 1928.  According to her obituary in the Terre Haute, IN, Tribune, she “She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many. She loved to quilt, sew and read and enjoyed the simple things of life.”

I used to enjoy the simple things in life….  However, my life has gotten much more complicated over the years…  I used to enjoy walking in the woods, communing with nature, hitting rocks with the flat piece of wood I had crafted as a “baseball bat”, imagining I was going to be a major league baseball player like Mickey Mantle, or Stan Musial, or other stars of the early 1960’s… I liked to catch golf balls I would throw against the concrete steps of our front porch, and catch them as they would rocket by at several times the speed of a real baseball….  Simple things….

And I went to school…. There they taught me more complicated things…  Physics, Latin, Algebra, Biology, etc….. However, I was never taught how to enjoy the simple things….  I was never taught ethics or peace, not nonviolence, or social justice, for that matter… Just these things I would need to match the tests they had given me,  Algebra, Physics, Latin, (which you use when you become a scientist or doctorJJ), and Biology… Nothing about ethics, or Peace, or Nonviolence…  Not social justice, either…

Which reminds me, I used to love to fight too, another simple thing… The strongest wins…. Got that?  I used to like to fight the big and the strong… I felt bad, If I fought the weak and won… I remember slamming a weak person on his back onto a wrestling mat and knocking the wind out of him on time… I felt bad, nearly as bad as when I killed the mother possum who was carrying a litter with her, or when, out of frustration, I kicked a pig one time in the stomach and it died…  I slammed a very tall basketball player up against a locker one time and cut his head open after he picked a fight with me… I felt good… Until later on the whole basketball team got a hold of me and slammed my head against the gym floor and I had to be taken to the doctor to get my head sown up… (You can feel my scar now, if you wish)

Dan Garner was very tall also…  I think he was 6” 8” or more… I never got into a real fight with him, except once….  It was just an arm wrestling contest…. He was known to be very strong also… I think he was the tallest person in our class… Very, tall… Even taller than the basketball player I slammed up into the locker… Probably stronger, too…   Well, we had the arm wrestling contest to find out who was the strongest…. Me, or him?  Simple things…  It took a long time to settle this simple thing… we wrestled and wrestled, and after a very long, long time, we had to call it a draw….   We were out of time… This was the day I had to take my driver’s license test… I was 16 years old… I could barely lift my right arm up to the steering wheel, but I passed the test…

Simple things….

I know a lot of people think I am just too complicated, and I admit, I am…

Back to simple things…

Nations think in simple things… I am the strongest… I have 100 times more nuclear weapons than you… I can destroy you more than once, more than you need to be destroyed… I will shock you and cause you to be in awe of me…. My army can defeat your army… Shock and Awe…. I have power over you…. By my violence, I can make everything right……  OH, and God, is on our side…


The strongest wins, Really?

What about the Peacemaker?  Does he win in the end, really?

Why don’t we all just get Naked, and have an arm wrestling contest, President Obama, and whoever it is we are supposed to be fighting, (we just simply don’t even know the answer to that… Who is it?) Or, why is it?  Is it the weapons of mass destruction?  Is it to bring democracy to the whole world? Is it “freedom”?  Who is it, what is it?  This is a simple question… Can you answer it?

Let’s just have and arm wrestling contest, just like Dan Garner, and I, and let’s call it a draw and go on to take other tests that come up in life, like driver’s license tests, and tests to determine if we love one another or not; real tests, that mean something after all these years.. Do we love one another?  That is a better test than Algebra tests, Latin tests, as we have been taught to answer…

I love you, Dan Garner….

Love & Peace,

John Cooper


About jcooperforpeace
Spiritual Director, Spirituality of Inner Peace

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