“Demons run when a good man goes to war
Night will fall and drown the sun
When a good man goes to war
Friendship dies and true love lies
Night will fall and the dark will rise
When a good man goes to war.”
There’s this thing about fighting for what you believe in. It starts with a simple idea: “Stand up for what you think is right. Believe it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” Often, that’s a very, very good thing. It helps institute change and move society toward equality when even the most fragile among us stand up and fight. What happens when a Hero – a good friend; a good person – goes to war? What happens if that good person can’t come back?
One thing I have come to realize is that our culture thrives on conflict. Whether it is a fight on Jersey Shore or the political name calling known as “an election year” (which, let’s be real, “election season” never REALLY ends), we all thrive on conflict. Most people take it as entertainment – something to wash over us and something to indulge in a little escapism. Others take pride in being able to pick up the mantel and fight for what they believe. Honestly, we all have moments of each of those… but there is a grave danger to living a life holding the shield.
We fight for each other, fight for what we believe in, and even fight for ourselves… what we forget to do sometimes is NOT fight. We become so caught up in what it’s like to fight and deal with hardships or constantly getting screwed or whatever… that we forget to just put down the sword and put down the shield. There’s a fine line between a Good person and a Bad person and Good people become Bad simply by being unable to stop. There’s a point where a drive for something, anything, becomes a vendetta and we start to lose ourselves to a thirst or desire to accomplish our goal.
So many situations with our country and between individuals are dealt with through use of words, edged as metaphoric razors and dripping with acidic vitriol, or even worse, they are dealt with violence. Even as an individual, I’ve been in a fair share of situations like this but only recently, have I found myself on the attacking side. Easy enough trap to fall into but when you don’t realize the intricate balances of interpersonal relationships, the influence one has on another, the balancing points of friendships, or even the weight of your own actions, you find that you leave a trail of hollow destruction in your wake.
Looking back is the scariest part. It’s never when it’s happening as most of the time, you’re convinced you’re the one in the right. It’s always the moment you stop and look back – when you stop and look at yourself – that you see the ugly side of humanity. Some people look back too often, others never do, but maybe it’s time we all stopped and looked back.
In a world that likes to point fingers and toss blame and insults carelessly to the wind, has anyone ever stopped to ask what have we become? Situations that are “solved” through lashing out in anger might be better off solved with space and a hug. People who earn their living as the predators of the weak or the inexperienced would be better served staring in a mirror and attempting to fix what’s wrong with them.
Unfortunately, nothing is ever so easy as “let’s all hug it out and then fix ourselves.” Unfortunately, it is not just a select few who take the plunge from integrity and general goodness into the lowest depths of the human condition. All of us do that at some point. Maybe, what we all really need, instead of “hugs and happiness and my little pony,” is a nice time-out. A day where nobody is a dick to anybody. A day where we all stare into the wall of Plato’s cave and realize that we’re all alone inside our own skulls and that maybe, just maybe, it is a privilege to be able to interact with our exterior world and the vibrant myriad of people and experiences around us.
But then you’re still stuck in a completely black cave with no idea how do get out. And herein is where I say that I believe in Angels. Maybe not the biblical sense or anything but there are those very gifted individuals who are able to reach out a hand and illuminate our cave. Rather than being the warrior, they are the healer. They are people who embody all of our hopes; people who guide us back into the wasteland of a battleground we once inhabited and show us the tree we once thought dead and its newly budding… uh… buds.
I envy people like that. I know how to fight and fight hard… but I don’t particularly know how to heal. It’s a gift and when you come across someone like that, with their bright eyes and kind features, you start to realize that not everything is so bad and not everything is a battle. Treasure those people who can lead you back to yourself – who can make you a Good person again.
After today, I kinda think that all we really need is an individual and a cultural time-out… and an Angel.