In an ancient kingdom in a far away land the young recruits of the kings army gathered to meet the Man At Arms. It was his job to turn peasants into warriors. They were undisciplined . They wandered about the yard gawking at everything. They spoke in loud voices about irrelevant topics. They paid no attention to the surroundings. The Man At Arms raised his hand and gave a sign to the watchers on the castle walls. The drums began a loud tattoo and the heavy oaken doors opened slowly. A hush falls over the recruits. He doesn’t speak a word at first. The young men instinctively follow him inside where there in the torchlight hang rows of battered and cracked shields. The Man At Arms speaks. “This is the Hall Of Honor. The men who once held these shields did not turn and run. They stared in the face of our enemies and held their ground. They proved their worth in heat of battle and kept the kingdom.” The young men marveled at the condition of shields on the walls. Dented, broken, scarred and in ruin all except for one shield at the end of the hall. It would have been in perfect condition had not been for heavy Patina of oxidation. The plaque beneath the unused shield read, Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. He fought no battle and his armor did rust. The Man At Arms noticed one of the recruits reading the plaque. “This man was a coward and always avoided confrontation. Nobody remembers his name.
After publishing the picture of Tiny several days ago one my coworkers on my day job pointed out a second turtle making his way along the outside of the office. All I had at the moment was my cellphone but I decided to walk over take a snapshot. He was fairly big for an Eastern Box Turtle. However as you can see he’s been through the wringer. Because he’s missing an eye I decided to name him Popeye after the famous cartoon sailor. His shell has sustained quite a bit of damage that seems to have healed over. I can tell that some scars are older. This kind of damage means bird attacks. (Larger birds will try to peck through the shell . ) He didn’t try to hide when I got close and I almost think he was daring me to try and pick him up. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually worried about being bitten by a box turtle. Popeye has certainly won his place in the Hall Of Honor. He also taught me that even though a battle will leave you with scars; victory is possible. It’s going to happen eventually. Eventually we all get a battle scar here and there. Some of us are going to have quite a few. But the scar is evidence of surviving the battle. Means you’re gaining experience, wisdom and strength. As long as you don’t give up the fight you’ll earn your place of honor.
I think everyone has had that feeling that they just don’t fit in at some point. In fact I’d say it’s multiple points for most of us. The temptation is to forsake one’s individuality for sake of the crowd. But isn’t that lying? It’s one thing to be polite and respectful towards other opinions but it another thing altogether to fein total agreement. What’s more is that when the truth eventually comes out the others in the group will feel betrayed. A true friendship can handle some individualism and if it can’t then it was never a true friendship in the first place. It was only mimicry.
Being your own person is often difficult. There’s going to be conflict and in today’s world a large portion of population is under the misunderstanding that disagreement and hate are the same thing. They most certainly are not. God could have created a world of clones where everyone is exactly alike. Everyone would have the same opinions, the same ideas and the same looks. How boring would that be? There would also be no fresh ideas, no variety and no excitement. I’m starting to meander here so I’m just going to get to point. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Sure there’s going to be people who don’t accept you because they can’t handle anyone who doesn’t mirror them but do you really want to burden yourself with such a shallow person? Just be yourself.
Sometimes when I’m out in yard looking at the small stream that flows through my property it looks like a tiny raging river. I have made a concentrated effort to maintain and cultivate my Peter Pan Syndrome. I still toss leaves into the water and race them downstream. The small minnows in the eddies become sharks. A crayfish makes a fine sea monster and the rocks are islands that are ripe for expiration. Who said that being a grown-up means that there’s no time for daydreaming? Gene Roddenberry once said that the best part about the success of Star Trek was having a nice office to daydream in. He made a successful career out of pretending to have adventures in the vastness of outer space. Sure, he used the format to tell morality plays and make important comments about society but in my mind’s eye I can see him with a toy Enterprise having space battles with Klingons. I’ll bet that when nobody else was in the room he even made the “pew pew” sounds of Phasers and photon torpedoes. I have seen a lot of writers post about the finer points of creativity and how to properly relate your story to the audience but it all starts with holding onto a daydream.
An aerial battle of titanic proportions is playing out in sky above me. There’s not a flying ace that ever lived that could out maneuver these airborne warriors. Both are masters of the sky. I gaze skyward and watch the spectacle. Just as many times before, the little raven vanquished the large buzzard. It’s a true David and Goliath story. Being the biggest and the strongest does not guarantee victory. Ever.
We all have to face a battle at some point. We’ve either given ground until there’s just no more ground to give or what we’re protecting is too valued to lose. Oftentimes the enemy we face seems too big and too strong. We have doubts about our skills and ability to overcome. The lesson I have learned from watching the experts is don’t pick a fight but if the fight picks you then give no quarter and don’t hold back. When people ask me how deal with a big problem I have the answer because a little bird told me his secret.
As I sat down to write to write tonight’s post the wind is howling on the ridge above my home. I can hear the wind chimes ring loudly in the front porch. There’s a storm on the way. That’s the reason why I chose the picture of our local lighthouse. Lighthouses are the iconic representation of hope in the storm. I can’t look at a lighthouse without having a sense of peace and security. (That’s why I incorporated a lighthouse in my business logo.) Finding peace during a storm one of life’s necessities. It helps to have a lighthouse to provide a fixed point to focus on. Metaphorically speaking, we know that there will multiple storms in our lives. We will need that beacon of hope to focus on and guide us through the fog and blinding rain. For me, Christ is my lighthouse. That doesn’t mean that there’s never a storm. But it does mean that I have a fixed point to focus on and find that peace again.