Monday, March 16, 2009

Power is an Illusion

We get so caught up in this idea of power: who has it, what they do with it, who wants it, where they're leading us... but, I came to know that power really is just an illusion.

I remember a time when someone kidnapped one of my dad's friend's wife. You wouldn't think this sort of thing happened very often in Mississippi, but this was actually the second time my dad went through it. About ten years before, someone kidnapped a teller at a bank he worked with. In both cases, the women involved died at the hands of their kidnapper. Both men were caught and tried and convicted of their crimes.

For about a day, this crime was a secret. The husband of the kidnapped woman was a powerful man. The FBI thought it was best to keep the story out of the press initially while they set up a search for her. When it was all over, we learned this man kidnapped her to punish her husband and try to get money from him, money lost in a business deal gone sour.

The husband's friends knew about the kidnapping and my dad was one of them. They were all powerful men. When terrible things happen, people come together, even if there's nothing they can do to help. My dad came home very late that night. Sometimes he talked to me about things he didn't talk with anyone else about. A lot of it, even now, I've never told anyone.

He told me about the kidnapping. He'd been meeting with men who were all friend's of the man whose wife was kidnapped. I knew the men he was talking about. They were among the most powerful people in the state. He told me how each of them could command five hundred people to go out and search for the missing woman, to help their friend they'd do it gladly, but they knew, as much power as they each had, there was nothing they could do to help, that she was probably already dead and she was.

As powerful as he was, there were many times I watched my dad completely helpless to prevent something terrible happening to something or someone he really cared about. I suppose it was never so clear as the day I watched him die on the floor of his office, powerless even to keep his own heart beating.

We all seek power. We hoard it like dragon's gold to give us the courage to face an uncertain world, but I can tell you, I've seen men much more powerful than my dad utterly humbled when they faced the reality that their power means nothing.

In these uncertain times, many of us have come to face the reality that power and wealth and ability are all illusions, and all we really have on our side is hope and faith and love. Power is an illusion, but love is real.

1 comment:

Mommy Cracked said...

Amen to that. Very interesting.