Its a funny life we live. Would you agree? At times we feel compelled to do one thing, while at other times it seems so completely futile to pursue it. I try at times to convince myself that the good far out weighs the bad, but does it really? I understand that it does because it is so much more valuable... "one ounce of virtue practiced in tribulation is worth more than a thousand in times of peace and joy...", but its so hard to believe. Knowing is not believing, unfortunately. And yet in between the fire of good and the bad, the joyful and the sorrowful, the hopeful and despairing, there is a no man's land, a land of ice, and fog, and emptiness. Have you ever been on the prairie in the middle of winter? The fog is all around you, your voice sticks in your throat and as it closes in, it's swirling thickness seems to hand you over to the calls of the coyotes? It's like that in that no man's land. No fire to light you in love or hatred... and yet you continue, because you seem to have a vague recollection of a warmth once felt, a fight once fought, a faith once real.
There is something more, you remind yourself. And yet, so often that hope is flung away and shattered like an icicle upon the frozen ground. You rely on one person to show you the way, you see in another the strength to continue, you find inspiration in another, but you are all too often reminded that they too are human. When one stronger than yourself fails, what then are you to think? Perhaps it is not a failure for them, but in your eyes... and suddenly, without any particular reason, you do feel worthless, you do feel good for nothing.
Who has not felt this way? And sometimes I wonder if that is the lot of man, to feel worthless, to realize he is nothing and in perspective that he does nothing? "Comrades, I call upon you now to bear me witness, when have we felt ourselves happy men?" Of course there is some happiness and joy, but it doesn't last... but the sorrow, that seems to last... but i wonder... perhaps it's ok to be sad? To feel empty deep down inside. If we are not bitter, then perhaps sorrow is only natural to man. An indefatiguable smile on your lips, yet sorrow in your heart... perhaps this is the true meaning of man. What is it Tennyson wrote of Ulysses...:
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Perhaps that is what makes him a man..."He is the sane man," says Chesterton, " who can have tragedy in his heart, and comedy in his head..." A friend once said "for those who can hold the memory of the past in an insane world, that heart stands fast." Must we hold then, the memory of the past in our hearts... for it is a sad memory -- an irish story of sorts --, a memory of what we could have been, what we should have been, and realize, there is only one mistake in life...?