The ladies of the 32nd St. Temperance League knew it was time to do something. No longer could they trust in just leading by example, it was time to take their show on the road. People weren’t taking charge of their lives, weren’t connecting the dots. They knew better, but they didn’t act better.
Simply calling people out on unhealthy actions didn’t work and they knew it. They’d not participated in such activities themselves, but they’d watched and learned. It was helpful that others had made their mistakes for them.
But this was their flaw, or even their Catch-22. They didn’t know what it was like to feel the temptation and not yield to it, or more – to yield and then learn how to recover. It was easy to tell folks to stay on the straight and narrow if you’ve never strayed. But it meant more if you’d wandered off the path, got lost, and then found your way back. Who wanted a tour guide who had never visited the country they were touting?
But there was the rub – people didn’t trust people who had taken a trip through crazy-land. Whether it was just garden-variety mental illness or that with a side of substance abuse, they didn’t feel easy around those folks, even if they’d recovered. There was always an unspoken fear they’d relapse. It was the same old problem that had plagued Mary Magdalene – the woman who had seven demons cast out of her. Everybody focused on the past – that she used to have seven demons tormenting her – and not the present – they are gone. Her present wholeness was discounted while her past troubles were highlighted.
It wasn’t fair, but it was human nature, and these ladies needed every advantage they could, no matter how unreasonable. Because it was serious now, no time for talk. Lives were on the line. The only trouble was nobody knew. It was just like with Noah, building an ark in dry weather, on dry land. People mocked him the same way they mocked these ladies. It didn’t deter them. They had to share their message but the people didn’t have to listen.
That was the deal. In fact, nobody had to be rescued at all. Nobody had to be saved. The ladies had to tell the story, but the people didn’t have to listen. It was hard, of course, knowing so many folks would perish in the upcoming tribulation, but that couldn’t be helped. In fact, that was part of the test. If they were mature enough to heed the instructions and follow them, they were ready for the evolution. Otherwise? Who needed them? Layabouts and slackers who refused to be responsible for their lives didn’t need to be rescued. Everybody as a whole was better off without them. The tribulation (nobody was sure whether it was going to be with a bang or a whisper) would weed out the blamers, the entitled, the arrogant. All those who expected others to take care of them – or blamed others for their situation – would be wiped off the map.
For the ladies, that day needed to come soon. They were exhausted with the laziness that surrounded them.
(Written early October 2019)