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From the February 2014 magazine.

February 2014: Pestered

When everything starts bugging him, a better attitude can always shoo it away

This morning, when I returned home from my 6 a.m. meeting, my wife put her hand over the telephone receiver and whispered, “It’s Paul. He needs money.” Paul is a homeless man who came into our lives about five years ago, innocently asking to use the office copy machine. He has since then set up camp in the meadows of my mind, chopped my nerves for firewood, fished the placid waters of my generosity for new fiscal opportunities, and tethered his dog on a short leash to my guilty conscience. Over the past five years, first freely then grudgingly, I’ve given him money and rides to the grocery store and loaned him personal property. Lately I’ve been complaining that there’s no end in sight, and I feel guilty and resentful that I’m not more willingly generous. I’ll call him back later.

I stomp down the stairs with a bowl of cereal and go out and sit on the wooden deck to have breakfast beside two waterfalls and three small ponds in the side yard where I often meditate. Trapped between the screen and sliding glass door is a fuzzy black fly, as big as a kiwi fruit, frantically buzzing back and forth, bashing his bulging red eyes into the screen, looking for a way out. Great! When these guys invade our bedroom it takes forever to shoo them away, as they always get trapped between the screen and the glass. After a few minutes of sliding, slamming and thumping, he finally sails out through a small space and is probably at this moment lurking around somewhere out there, looking for the next opportunity to invade our home.

-- Ed L.

Wrightwood, California

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