One day there was a man sitting on a park bench. The day was gorgeous, sunny, a little warm but there was a gentle cooling breeze coming in off of the ocean.
In the distance, he could hear the sound of the surf, and the cry of gulls as flew up overhead.
He wasn’t doing anything much in particular, just enjoying his day, enjoying his life as best he could. He wasn’t bothering anyone. But as busy as he was, he just felt like stopping for a moment to just simply relax.
Well, not too long into his rest another man walks up with a smile on his face and a cup in his hand. The other man, roughly the same age as the first, was sharply dressed while the first, was dressed exactly for what he’d set out to do.
But the man came up to the man on the bench and said, ‘beautiful day, isn’t it?’
And the first man nodded, slightly curious about the man and even more so about the cup. But he decides to mind his business and said, ‘Why yes, yes it is.’
The man in the suit asked, ‘Mind if I sit down next to you?’
And the other scooted over and said, ‘Sure, it’s a free country.’
Wel,l the man in the suit did sit. And they sat together in silence for a little while before the man in the suit handed over his cup.
‘I need you to drink this.’
Taking the cup out of curiosity more than anything, and maybe a little thirst the other man asked, ‘What is it?’
And the first man replied, ‘Its poison. It’s going to make you sick.’
Shocked and a little disbelieving the first man chuckled and asked, ‘Why would I drink poison?’
And the first man smiled sweetly and said, ‘If you drink this poison, even though it’ll make you sick, I will like you.’
Aghast, the man – who didn’t know the other from Adam asked, ‘And if I don’t drink it?’
The first man’s face clouded over and suddenly he looked very mean and very angry. And with spittle on his lip,s he replied, ‘If you don’t I will hate you. And I hate you, I could hurt you in other ways.’
Wel,l the first man on the bench, who’d taken some time off just to relax, who’d been minding his own business was naturally really upset that a man he never met could hate him for no reason or want to make him sick just so he could like him.
But finally, the man shook his head and handed his cup back to the man in the suit and said, ‘ You may hurt me, this is true, even kill me. But I will not drink from your cup. You liking me simply isn’t enough of a reason for me not to like myself.’
And without a second though, the man stood up and left the other sitting on the bench with the cup of bitterness in his hand and went about his life.
Furious the man left seated quickly downed the cup and rose to pursue the one who walked away. He made it four steps before his knees gave out and landed face first onto the ground. Dead.
The other – never even knew as he went about his life.
Moral of the story: No one is worth trading yourself for. No one is worth ingesting poison for no matter what the contents of the cup or how much they may like you. Be it religion, politics, and so forth. And while yes, they may be able to hurt you, it’s because they’re ate up inside with hate and their demise isn’t far behind.
And if you have been drinking someone’s poison before, and may still yet be, even though they may grow angry at you for stopping, you have EVERY. RIGHT. TO. WALK. AWAY.