Butcher. Doesn't that sound like an awful word? Well, it does to me. And in order to get an animal to the butcher, it has to be slaughtered - another word that makes me cringe. Two nasty words.
Okay, that's as bad as it gets in this post along those lines... I promise.
Yesterday Mike and I took off work to go to my regular every-4-month doctor's appointment. We usually take the day off because my doctor is so far away it takes most of the day going, being there and coming back home. So we take the whole day and enjoy it. I'd go by myself, but Mike says it's too far away and he'd just rather be with me. What if the car broke down?
So off we went, enjoying our drive. As we got close to the doctor's office, we drove through a quaint downtown of a small town. There were lots of cool shops... pottery, antiques, herb, art galleries, a tattoo "parlor" and... a butcher. As we approached it, I saw a life-sized fake cow standing out front. Ugh, I thought, a butcher where all kinds of dead animals are hanging around.
But Mike was delighted. As I sank into my seat, wanting to avoid the place and the thoughts entering my mind, his mood elevated and he got all excited. "I've not seen a butcher shop in years! I'm going to stop by there on the way back and get a nice, big steak!" he said.
After the doctor's appointment, we ate a late lunch at a highly recommended restaurant within walking distance of the doctor. It was a beautiful place. We sat down and I picked out what I wanted to eat. There were only two things I could eat as a vegan, but at least there was a choice so I was happy. And it looked good - a grilled veggie sandwich with portobellos. And Mike was happy too; he ordered a big seafood bowl.
But the waitress came back to tell me they were out of the sandwich. The only thing left was a salad. Which was okay, but slightly annoying. But I was fine and the salad was good. And it was a beautiful day.
Soon the chef came out and asked how everything was. We said "great" because the food was very good, but I did mention in a very nice way that it would be wonderful to have a few alternative choices for those of us who don't eat meat. He agreed and said in the summer particularly he gets quite a few requests from vegetarians and vegans and he apologized for not having the sandwich available. We told him we'd be back in four months.
Mike and I were both eating and quiet when Mike asked me what was on my mind. I told him he didn't want to know. He said, "Well, now I really want to know." So I said, "Okay, I'll tell you, but I warned you!"
I told him how I was thinking about when one has an epiphany... like all of the sudden a light comes on in your head. You see how your thinking process or understanding of something has totally changed from what it was before - sometimes quite suddenly and dramatically. And you wonder how on earth you could have ever thought/felt the way you had before. I could compare it to a Christian being "born again" in a way. (Not to diminish that experience at all because I've felt that myself in my own way - just not attached to a religion). But it's like all of the sudden you want to share your new "vision" or "understanding" or "joy" or whatever you want to call it with the rest of the world - and especially with those you love the most. But they aren't at that same place as you and you can't force them to see things they either aren't ready to see, don't want to see or aren't capable of seeing at that point in their lives. We all have to come to these things in our own way...
About that time, Mike's eyes started to glaze over. Well, maybe not, but I could tell he regretted asking me what was on my mind. Well, he was warned.
I proceeded onward a bit more hoping to ignite something in him, but I could tell he really didn't want to hear any more. So I changed the subject.
Just because I have had an epiphany about animals and meat and kindness to our fellow travelers on earth doesn't mean that he can relate to it at all. That's just the way it is. All I can do is be a positive influence. It's not my job to nag and make him feel bad. Though I do sometimes want to hit him over the head with an frying pan.
We left the restaurant and headed through the little town again. We drove by the butcher and I thought, "Cool, he changed his mind. Maybe..." But then, all of a sudden Mike said, "I almost forgot to stop at the butcher!" He turned around and made his way back to the sad little shop. He got a steak. Just one relatively small steak. For him a prize; for me... well, you just don't want to know.