Here I go again on my own,
going down the only road I’ve ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.
–Whitesnake, “Here I Go Again”
I am a member of the Knights of Columbus, and we had our monthly council meeting last night. The officer installation for the 2014-15 fraternal year took place in June, so our July meeting was the first time that our new officers took their positions (I continued as an officer).
This means that our new grand knight (chairman) assumed his role as leader of our council. The only reason he “got the job” was because no one else wanted it; too much responsibility and pressure. (In a lot of cases, grand knights are retired guys because they have the most time to devote).
Well, we officers and regular members knew it was a bad idea because… um… let’s just say he wasn’t the right type to lead a K of C council. Problems started right off the bat: He never bothered to learn the ins and outs of the office of grand knight; he shouted and berated guys who had the floor during meetings; it was “his way or the highway;” etc.
Needless to say, this caused an enormous amount of tension in the air every month, not to mention the fact that members have stopped volunteering for fundraisers and various other projects due to an apparent drop in morale.
At the July meeting, I merely sat there and observed the circus around me, ashamed at what the council had become. Last month, I went off on the grand knight and had to be calmed down by another officer. At that point, whenever I would think about or see K of C guys, I would get panic attacks and start to hyperventilate.
Last night, at the September meeting, all hell broke loose.
I won’t go into the details, but there was a controversial proposal from the floor which created a battle line immediately. Shouting ensued. Words with venom dripped from a portion of these godly men’s mouths.
After the meeting, I was confronted by some of my “friends” about my stance on the particular issue. It led to harsh words and defensive body language all around. I left in a huff, shaking and gasping for air, ready to physically assault someone.
It was as if I were drunk: I don’t recall everything that transpired during my raging panic attack. I loudly cursed at a friend and officer in the lobby of the parish community center. I stormed to my car, not looking back as my friend chased me down. I didn’t acknowledge him until I got to my car.
My complete meltdown was taking place. I could not stand up. Leaning on my car, shaking, you would have thought English was not my first language: I was having trouble forming words and uttering sentences.
I remember breaking down in front of my friend, confessing all of my mental issues. I was a blubbering mess. I kept repeating the refrain, “I don’t want to go to prison.”
I was on the verge of seriously hurting someone.
I would love to tell you that my friend hugged me, told me everything would be okay, and that I went on my merry way.
That’s far from what happened next.
One of the new members and officers, an arrogant, loud-mouthed stocky Latino guy strutted over to me in the dark parking lot. His actions and expressive speaking style reminded me of a pissed-off prison inmate.
“You know, I don’t appreciate the way you talked to me in there. You don’t know nothing about me. I’m a man. You disrespected me.”
(Mind you, we are two practicing Catholics and officers in the K of C, so this will definitely amuse you anti-Catholics out there.)
Lots of talk. Lots of swagger. Chest puffed out. Intimidating?
Not in the least.
I’m 6’5″ tall, 220 pounds, and skilled in aikido which I practiced in Japan. This guy was expecting me to either cower before him or run away.
Instead, I got in his face (Well, his face was in my chest).
Accusations, threats, and macho shouting progressed until my friend stepped between us.
Latino’s smart-ass taunts got me more worked up; I was already a basket case, pushed to the brink of insanity.
To make a long story short, he eventually walked away to his truck and left as I kept yelling, trying to provoke him into come back and taking a swing at me.
What did I learn from this?
That I have a lot of soul-searching to do. That both the Latino guy and I need to repent. That I wasn’t being like Jesus.
That my illness had struck again and I’ll have to leave the council out of shame. That I’ll have to find another parish to attend. That I’ll have to start over yet again.
I have since officially resigned from my officer position, sent a heart-felt apology to the Latino guy, and sent myself into permanent exile from this K of C council and parish. Possibly an indefinite exile from the Church and religion for a while.
I never, ever imagined this happening. This K of C council was full of my brothers in the faith. I looked forward to every meeting, every function, every volunteer opportunity. Because it was a brotherhood.
But it happened.
Here I go again.
(Photo by Topaz)