I AM THE VULTURE

By Mohan Karulkar: I was at the dentist the other day, waiting to be seen.  I was sharing the waiting room with a mom and her young daughter -- maybe 3 years old. At one point the little girl perked up and shouted "Daddy!" as she looked through the office window.  Apparently Daddy was dropping off her brother for his appointment.  Mom went to door of the office with her daughter dancing behind her, singing "daddy" over and over again.

But when only her brother walked in, and no daddy, I watched several emotions play out on the girl's face.  First confusion, then anger, then devastation.  And I mean devastation. When the waterworks started, they weren't the tears of a bratty kid who didn't get her way.  They were the tears of a girl who had been hurt by her dad, and by extension, the rest of the world.  Her tears were big and desperate, but they couldn't change anything.

This little scene cut me deeply because I have a son just shy of 1 year.  My dad-heart broke as I watched her cry, and I realized just how complex and dangerous this kind of near-miss is when I took stock of the situation.

1) Dad had no idea his daughter was dancing around for him. 2) The girl assumed her Dad purposely didn't come see her. 3) Mom was busy checking in her son, and didn't pay much attention to the girl. 4) I, the bystander, got angry at Dad for making his daughter cry, angry at mom for ignoring her, and angry at little brother for not comforting her.

Life is complicated. Our own lives are confusing as it is, and other people's lives are even more so. But we still have the urge to analyze and judge and gossip as we watch the world unfold around us.  Kim Kardashian married for the money. Joe Paterno covered up a sex scandal. Herman Cain is a liar. Conrad Murray is a murderer. Wall Street Protestors are lazy bums. And the little girl's dad is an unloving creep who doesn't deserve to be loved.

Or, maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about.  Maybe we have no idea what we're talking about.  Maybe we're just a pack of vultures looking for our next meal, whether it's celebrity gossip, political scandal, or family drama played out in a waiting room.

And maybe we have a choice.  Maybe we can leave the pack -- the Vulture Culture -- and stand up for something more.  We can choose the believe the best in people. We can pick others up instead of kicking them down.  We can pour into others' potential, rather than dismissing it.  We can choose to never give up loving, fighting for, and praying for the people who seem to deserve it the least.

Because we didn't deserve it either, but someone gave it to us anyway.  We are People of the Second Chance. And we choose a different path forward.

Are you with us?

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