I believe absolutely in the sanctity of all life. Believe absolutely.
From time to time, I struggle with the fact that I eat meat and fish. I remind myself that I could survive on shell-fish and scallops and other things that don't have faces...but I'm weak and love a good steak or cod loin.
But I can guarantee you if I had to kill the creature to eat it, I never would. I didn't eat chicken until I was an adult because I watched my grandmother twist their heads off and let them run around sprouting blood.
However, I contradict myself now--I am obsessed with killing flies.
I once said to Ross Collins Owens III, when he accused me in Divinity Hall at Harvard of 'contradicting myself'--"Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes."
Col was amazed. "That's great," he said.
"It's Walt Whitman," I replied.
"Who?" Col asked. He had a BA from Harvard. I had a BA from West Virginia University. Suddenly I no longer felt diminished in his presence....
I can't stand flies.
Bern can't either.
We have half-a-dozen fly swatters all over the house. Sometimes we spend half-an-hour prowling around downstairs with fly swatters with the commitment to slaughter as many flies as we can.
I would never hurt a spider unless I knew it was poisonous and was on one of my granddaughters.
I even put stink bugs outside when I find one inside.
But flies are different.
Even as I type this I hear Bern downstairs with a fly swatter. I pray for her accuracy.
My second cousin, Kim, was walking with me one day. She was 4 or so and I was a teen at least.
Suddenly she pulled her hand away and ran over to some ants on the sidewalk and started stomping on them.
When she finished, she came back, took my hand and said, "they were going to hurt Kimmy".
That's the way I feel about flies.
That, if nothing else, keeps me from being a Buddhist.
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