“The Prophet” went to his office. He shared office space with “The Social Worker”. The prophet had just finished a very important letter he needed to send that day. As he finished the letter, “The Angry Man” stormed in and began to scream at the social worker. She sat quietly and took notes. Then the angry man began to scream at the prophet. The prophet, who was once a warrior, stood up and stared at the angry man. The angry man continued to throw insults and threats at the prophet, but he became fearful of the prophet and left.
The prophet sat down to address the envelope, but could not. The harder the prophet tried to address the envelope, the more difficult it became to write legibly. The airplane engines were running and the pilot was waiting for the letter, but needed to leave immediately. The social worker came over and addressed the envelope for the prophet and gave it to the pilot. The social worker said to the prophet, “You can never defeat anger that way. The angry person may go away, but they leave the poison with you.” She quoted the Tao Te Ching as she was prone to do: “A tree that is unbending is easily broken.*“
The prophet drove up the hill to the restaurant on east end of town to meet a friend for lunch. A new person was working the restaurant:
“What would you like today?”
“I’ll take two tacos and a Coke.”
“Would you like your Coke in the can?”
“No – I’ll just drink it at the table.”
The prophet told his friend about the angry man. His friend became outraged at the angry man for barging into their office. He said, “This is a great injustice. We cannot stand for this. He needs to be held accountable. This all needs to stop today!”
His friend left. The prophet looked down Main Street from his table in the restaurant to where the tall steeple used to be. The prophet then wondered: What if a great sickness comes and makes the social worker ill? Who, then, will care for the city? Is punishing people for committing injustices enough to save us?
The prophet then remembered another one of the quotations from the Tao that the social worker like to repeat:
If one is sick of the sickness, then one is not sick.
The wise are not sick, because they are sick of sickness. *
The prophet always said he was “sick of the sickness”. He always believed he was “sick of the sickness”. But today he realized he’s not truly “sick of the sickness”.
He only knew one person that could help.
*Quotations from the Tao Te Ching. Lao-tsu. Gia-fu Feng. Jane English. Vintage Books. 1972, 2002.