Sunday, August 23, 2009
Kings and Queens Heroes and Heroines
“O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear
Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the weak
list of a country’s fashion: we are the makers of
manners, Kate; and the liberty that follows our
places stops the mouth of all find-faults; as I will
do yours, for upholding the nice fashion of your
country in denying me a kiss: therefore, patiently
and yielding. ”
Henry V Act 5, Scene 2
There are endless justifications in life. We justify happenings actions and attempt to reason away things that make us unhappy or make ourselves feel better about circumstances.I know that personally i justify a few whoppers a week, just to get by. And so do we all:
"Everything happens for a reason."
"It's just business"
"I can quit anytime"
"All's fair in love and war"
"It's God's will"
"But they really do love me"
All of these are classic examples of our attempts to make ourselves feel better about crummy decisions we make, and the general disasters that life presents us and the ones we hand each other.I blame no one for their desire to rationalize or justify but sometimes it does us well to confront that fact and be merciful to ourselves and others by being a little more plain-spoken and realistic. As I step back and momentarily become Emerson's "Transparent Eyeball" (A moment is really all I can afford of serious introspection right now), I find myself reverting to what i consider my moral center while i contemplate and justify decisions I have made in life, some not so wise, in pursuit of my own little holy grail of making this place better through my ability to engage people in a pleasant manner and bring to them entertainment and laughter that connects us all. If there is a life thesis for me at the moment, you've just read it.
So as i see my friends in their contented and married lives, many of them with children now, it gives me pause to see how much i've sacrificed in my attempts to maximize my ability to connect in a positive manner. My friend observed last night, that no one else possesses the life skills that I've had to develop for dealing with all the insanity that i bring on myself, and that which is heaped on me by the myriad of strange characters who have chosen similar journeys and are plodding along trying to make sense of it.
It is at times like this when the alienation from so very much seems to be tugging at me while I'm busy with social media, talent booking, joke telling, and the social and emotional slings and arrows of my life that I go to what I have always considered my grand justification. I am not alone.
If i were Christian, I would say Christ is with me. And he is, most certainly. He too sought more from life than a carpenter's spot in the firm of Moses, Abraham and Sons and in turn, his premature death at age 33 (An age I am a week from) resounds even to a hardened atheist like myself.
The sacrifice of comfort, both bodily and mental, the pain and suffering of the individual seeking a greater truth or a metaphorical grail is a story retold over and over in the human experience and our most revered heroes are those who gave of themselves for a larger cause succeeded and redeemed themselves and the world through their sacrifice. That story holds a sacred place in our psyche, and I posit that it is for moments like these where times try men's souls that our ancestors recorded the heroic tales, so as to inspire us mid journey, look at how far we've all come and beckon us to the universality of the journeys of our predecesors who dared step out of the comfort zone.
If we have taken a risk, we have thrown away comfort, and we have taken a step into the brave new world that propels humanity forward. The more steps you take, the greater your discomfort, and when I feel I may break and settle into a quieter version of my charmed life I look to the heroes that continued despite enormous prices exacted on themselves and those who dared support them. I stand on those shoulders and find strength in the heroes around me valiantly beautifying the world and making our communal experience a touch more special for our brief time here.
When I look around me and think what have i accomplished? What is my goal and purpose? I find the greatest justification in our shared journeys and experiences, and I am thankful for those who have kept it together for me. Those who I lean on, and those who like me, continue to charge into the fray on a daily basis at the expense of their physical and mental well-being in hopes that the next day will be brighter for all of us.
That is the mother of all justifications. It justifies why I sometimes feel exempt from certain norms, why i feel entitled to bang my head more often and why sometimes it requires a little more understanding from society and my peers. I do not ask for sympathy. I'm having a great time in my journey and when and if I arrive I'll have done it to the sincere best of my abilities. No shortcuts, no easy answers. For all you great Kings and Queens out there, for all you heroes, take heart in Henry V's words from the Shakespearean play. Be able to look at your world with an open and sincere heart and say "Your rules do not apply to me, I will lead my life as I see fit." and then act out of love.
This is what I tell myself.