I Met a Scorpion Today

There are two versions of a well-known fable you might have heard.

In the first one, a scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion explains that he wouldn’t sting the frog, for if he did, he would drown too. The frog trusts the scorpion and agrees to carry it across the river. En route, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog asks the scorpion why he did it if he knew they would both drown. The scorpion replies: “It is my nature to do so.”

Scorpion on back of turtle crossing river.

Then there is the second version—the one I much prefer. It involves a turtle, not a frog. The turtle drowns the scorpion after the scorpion tries and fails to sting it through its hard shell.

Here was the scorpion trying to sting me through my shell—my certainty in the truth and value that Scientology brings to this world. Even though I was kind and helpful to him, it was his nature to denigrate me and my beliefs.

Today at Whole Foods, I met a scorpion. He was a very distinguished looking man at the next table over from mine and he had the appearance and bearing of a successful executive. He asked if I could watch his food while he went to get something else and I agreed.

When he returned, I joked that I had had to fight off several people from his plate. I was wearing a vest with an International Association of Scientologists emblem on it, and he asked me if I was a Scientologist. “Yes, for over 40 years,” I said, never expecting his reply.

In a creepy, raspy tone he declared, “Scientology is the last thing I would ever get involved with.” This was a stranger I had done a favor for, and he felt he had a right to disparage what I believe in and support.

I asked him where he got his information from and he would not answer. He derisively sneered, “Say hello to L. Ron Hubbard,” as he walked away smirking.

Here was the scorpion trying to sting me through my shell—my certainty in the truth and value that Scientology brings to this world. Even though I was kind and helpful to him, it was his nature to denigrate me and my beliefs.

The incident reinforced a lesson I have come to know: scorpions come in many shapes and sizes, and their sting can often catch you off guard.

But it is vital that we have the courage to maintain and communicate truth in the face of those who disrespect our beliefs. We must continue to be friendly and kind through our shell of personal integrity.

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