Short End of the Stick

28 Apr

Do you employ this colloquialism often?  OK, do you blab old saying stuff like this much?  Going down the path that you are on, do you come across opportunities to put the meaning of such “sayings” into practice?…the one step forward and two steps back times, the turn the other cheek times.  In life, the truth is, you can’t always get what you want or what you think might be yours, or what you think you deserve.  Resignation to the “that’s-not-fair” moments is an inevitable reality and so we have conjured up cultural tidbits of speech to help us cope with the disappointments.

In Ethiopia, there is such a saying.  “When the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.”  Not quite the same meaning as “the short end of the stick”, but a cultural saying that helps cope with…”It’s not fair.”  For every human being, outcomes are always outside of complete control.  I am not the boss of my life.  Living with a value system of the heart that recognizes this verity is harder than employing coping phrases out of the mouth.  It’s easier to talk about the short end of the stick than it is to discover contentment when you find it in your hand.  Going the second mile while giving up your coat also and feeling privileged for the opportunity is more than a tongue and lips thing.  But we say it first, and after many opportunities to “practice what we preach”, we begin to find common ground with the one who taught us to love our enemies and to do good to those who despitefully use us.

There are many short end of the stick opportunities in Ethiopia.  Is it easy to share hope with hearts in this manner?  It’s not supposed to be.  This is what gives power to such performances. This is what communicates a uniqueness of peace.  This is what allows a testimony to the one on the long end of the stick.

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