Years ago, I checked out a book from the library for the sole reason that the cover art included a GIANT gem and a wizard-looking person.

I ABSOLUTELY judged this book by its cover and it’s a lucky thing I did.  Deltora Quest introduced me to one of my favorite and most share-able authors.  Emily Rodda is amazing.  I didn’t realize this was the seventh book in a series, but even when I did, I read on.  The man on the cover, The Guardian, has four dogs that are always with him, with ropes growing out of the backs of their necks and disappearing into The Guardian’s sleeve.    As if they weren’t grotesque enough, these slavering canines are named Envy, Greed, Pride, and Hate.  No dog is named after his true weakness and the characters have to determine which dog had which attribute, along with jumping through quite a few more hoops to defeat The Guardian.

When they eventually do, The Guardian refuses to accept his defeat and goes almost crazy.  The dogs turn back on him and it is revealed that those ropes that grow out of their flesh are actually ropes of The Guardian’s flesh, hidden by his robes.  The canines are the physical embodiments of the emotions The Guardian has let take over  within.  They are growing out of him and feeding on him.

Thankfully, it ends happily for all (well, the dogs die, but I kind of think that’s a mercy) and you almost forget about the horror that The Guardian had created by clinging onto these negative emotions.

Now, I refer you to this Cherokee story:

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

I think, even if Rodda did not know of this story, she illustrated it well.  I am put strongly in mind of these two stories when I see the reactions to the Aurora movie theatre tragedy.  Which wolf am I feeding?  The one that lives off of fear and anger?  Certainly this young man was:

Doyle from Facebook: This Breaks my Heart & Makes me SO ANGRY! For someone to target a Packed-Premier-Night Theater is so Completely Wrong… I really hope Vigilante Justice Rings True for This Offender & he Never Makes it to Trial!

I’m not saying that I didn’t have thoughts along those lines, though I don’t think I ever wished an unjust death on the young man who perpetrated this crime (that being said, I don’t believe the death penalty is just, either . . . I don’t wish death on anyone).  I thought how I would feel if this did happen, and perhaps distinguishing between that and this young man’s post is too fine a line.  But my hope is that–as we recover from yet ANOTHER tragedy in Colorado–I react more like To Write Love On Her Arms did or perhaps the anonymous person who made the second photo:

In many ways, it feels like we’re falling apart as a state.  But if we continue to feed the wolf that is harmony and peace, much like we did when the Waldo Canyon Fire broke through in Colorado Springs, we’ll get through it together.  I’m not saying accept what the young man did.  I’m saying love those who survived.  The wolves will sort themselves out eventually, but right now there are people who need help.

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