If time and distance and death were no hindrance, who is it that you would most like to meet?
I did a little research and looked up a top 10 list of historical figures that people say they would most like to meet. (This comes from the San Diego library and ranking system, 2013)
- Jesus Christ
- Princess Diana
- William Shakespeare
- Albert Einstein
- Marilyn Monroe
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Elvis Presley
- Roald Dahl
- Freddie Mercury
- Martin Luther King
Wow. Whaaat?? You’re joking right? Freddie Mercury? Frankly, there is only one person on that list that would have ever made my own!
Whoever you might have on your list, I have advice for you. Throw it out.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people I admire historically. One pretty high up for me would be Patrick Henry. The following is an excerpt from a speech he gave in 1775, St. John’s church, Richmond, Virginia.
I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
This speech was made by Henry to raise up a private militia (times change, needs rarely do, we could use that militia right now!) This speech makes the blood pound in my ears. I agree! But so often we seem to feel that these are the kinds of words that are spoken in a bygone time by long-ago people, with antiquated ideals and past tense issues. I disagree. Completely and strongly. Those words are timeless. And they are held timeless by brave men and women still today. They are held by guardians of freedom who refuse to stand idly by. They resolutely refuse to be silent and helpless, throwing up their hands in apathetic hopelessness. Strong men and women who wont play the victim, who hold the standard and the banner, not in bitter anger, but in the hope of a future that they are courageous enough to influence.
I am not sure I believe in heros. We are inundated these days with notions of super-humanity. Perhaps I have grown jaded, or maybe I have simply refined what I expect of that moniker, hero. People who can fly, turn green and huge and powerful, spin a web, pick up an impossible hammer, fly and move metal with their minds, or ride on ice… really? Why we have this need for abilities outside our own is a bit of a mystery to me. Remember that song…. He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight. He’s gotta be sure and it’s gotta be soon and he’s gotta be larger than life.
What is larger than life? This question has been drilled home to me in recent days. I admit that this little trained monkey has a bit of a pet peeve and here it is: “I’m going to give it 110%!” My teeth grind just a little and I have to quietly remind myself that what is important is more the spirit in which it was said and not the technicality therein. But… you cannot give more than 100%. 100% is all. Don’t look to give more, give that.
Hero or Heroine is defined in the dictionary as: A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.
Nowhere in that definition does it say, “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” Why? Simply unnecessary.
I hope someday someone asks me the question, “Who would you most like to meet?”
I am ready with my answer. I have met them. They are not people of the past. They are alive and well. Though not all of them.
I met a man who struggled daily. Panic and anger and fear haunted his dreams and many of his waking moments. He was demoralized by large crowds, his hands would grow clammy and he would back into a corner. A simple restaraunt meal would find him jockeying into a position to see all entrances. Easy it would be to relegate him to the slag-heap of cowardice, until you peek behind the curtain. He had spent months walking a razor wire in Iraq. He had looked down the scope, sighted in on the moving figure, and pulled the trigger. He had lost companions and friends and brothers-in-arms. He had paid, and dearly. It was to be his habit and life and waking breath to walk the line out on the road, intent for any unturned rock hiding an unseen landmine. He had spent countless nights huddled in the green claustrophobic haze of night vision goggles, waiting, listening for the click and pop from the shell and his own impending end. He had lost a leg in his service. He returned to a largely thankless country, ashamed of his “murders and heinous acts.” The same acts that allow me to sleep safe in my home, free and able to carry on with only the small worrys of my here and now. I remain forever in his debt. Humbled by his life. And he carries on. He stands not idly by.
I met a child who died from cancer. Her death made me see life in a very different way. She cried when she was stuck, she was angry and expressed it all. In the end, her cape was pulled quietly over her head. She fought. Not with bullets or fists, but she fought none the less. She did not stand idly by.
This blog is about Mark and Miranda so it doesn’t take much of a roadmap to realize at least part of what I think and how I feel about them. I am not an easily impressed individual. I do not trip through the daisies with any person who happens to throw a few nice words my way and I am more likely to remain silent than to offer mindless compliments of my own in return. I hope though, that at the end of my days, it can be said of me that I encouraged people somehow with something in some small way. Compliments are nice, and we all appreciate a sincerely given praise. But we often grow more from kind and honest correction. Encouragement is an entirely different thing. It is the practice of emboldening someone. Producing in that person the courage to move forward, often through adversity. It is the ability to revitalize flagging confidence. To build and grow a person, to motivate and inspire them and their dream. To plant the seed that will flourish and bloom and produce ten fold. THAT is what Mark and Miranda have done for me. And not only me, but countless others. They have through persistence and patience and encouragement and humor, breathed life into many and certainly me. They have changed my life. They have changed the lives of my girls. They have changed my horses.
When I look to the best of life; things like that empassioned speech that Patrick Henry gave. The best of our great country, the wildness and spirit of the men and women who shape it. I do not look backward. I do not live nostalgically for past leaders. I look forward to people like Mark and Miranda. Why? They do not stand idly by.
If I can encourage, in any way, to any wandering or questioning person, call, go to a clinic, seek, ask. Help, encouragement and hope are waiting and available. For me, it started with a simple admission of need. I need help. That’s what I said, almost those exact words. Hard, a bit humiliating when I see myself juxtaposed against a sea of more talented, more experienced and all in all, much better people. I had little to offer, but “little” was enough. Little, was enough to change my life.
“We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”
Do not stand idly by.