Marcus the Therapist sat down with Simon the Zealot. Simon was honing his short sword with a stone, then testing its edge by shaving the hairs on the back of his arm. “Simon, you seem to be a little upset right now.”
Simon rubbed his thumb along the blade drawing a bead of blood as he looked up. He clenched his teeth, narrowed his eyes and spat, “Right about that!”
“Would you like to talk about it?” Marcus asked.
Simon drew a deep breath and then let it out slowly. “Do you think in would help?” he asked.
Marcus smiled knowingly. “It just might.”
“Well,” the Zealot began, “those pansy priests are taking advantage of the poor pilgrims” he said. Marcus cringed at the word “pansy” but nodded and said, “Hmm. Go on.”
“Ya see, the pilgrims walk for hundreds of miles to worship in the Temple,” the crusty Simon observed. “Some of them are leading or carrying precious little lambs they have raised themselves.”
Marcus rolled his eyes. “How will we ever mature as a race if these bloody sacrifices continue?” he thought to himself.
“Well, think about it Doc. The people love those little lambs, but they hate their sins. They are consumed by guilt …” At the word “guilt” Marcus perked up. “That precious lamb will be their sacrifice to atone for their sins. Can you imagine?” he asked.
Marcus shuddered. He could hardly believe this was the first century! Hadn’t mankind progressed past such barbarity? “Continue,” the therapist nodded.
“When the poor pilgrim and his lamb get to the temple, the bleeding priest looks at the pilgrim’s sacrifice, shakes his head and points to some so-called ‘blemish’ on the little lamb. The sacrifice isn’t good enough. Then the priest points the pilgrim to one of the official lamb dealers where he can buy a ‘pre-approved’ lamb – mangy beasts,” Simon spit. “Naturally the priests are getting a kick back on the deal, but that’s not all!” Simon stood up gripping his razor sharp sword. “The pilgrim can’t even use his money – it being tainted foreign money and all. He has to exchange it – at a fee – for so-called Temple money. Only it ain’t even real Temple money. It’s a Tyrian shekel it is!” The Zealot raised his sword in holy anger. “I could just run somebody through!”
Marcus took a deep breath. “I see,” the therapist began. “Why don’t you sit back down and breathe deeply for a moment. That’s right. Try breathing in slowly and letting it out in one big exhale.”
With Simon sitting down again, Marcus continued. “Life’s not fair Simon,” he started. “Sometimes things don’t always go the way we think they should. That’s no excuse though for your losing your temper. You have a choice. You can choose to become angry and lash out and hurt others, or you can be in control. By not reacting to other people’s choices, you are really winning! Doesn’t that feel better?”
Marcus looked down at his sundial. “Well Simon, I think you’ve made good progress today.” He stood up, looked out the window and wondered, “Who is that Galilean with a whip over at the Temple?”