An epic story is noted by certain themes. One of those themes is: person fights bad, person defeats bad, person celebrates, all hell breaks loose, repeat.
My life is an epic story in which there is a Red Wedding about once a week. Today’s Red Wedding was infinitely more destructive than the last. How I will get through this is unfathomable to me.
We read Beowulf for Lit this week, and our discussion turned to how violent life was back then. There were battles over lands and kingship and women and just about anything they wanted to kill each other over. People faced the constant threat of not just the elements and the natural world, but their fellow human beings. And yet, here we are.
Nowadays, the future is grim, and I think I’m being positive about it. Not only are we struggling against climate change, we must fear our fellow human beings and their lust for violence and the perceived need for vengeance, not to mention their hatred for another just because they are from a different “tribe.” Over 1000 years since Beowulf was first told, and nothing has changed.
And yet, here we are.
Human beings are survivors. Quitting, ending it all, that is not our natural way. If it was, we would have died out before we even got started.
We have never had it easy. But we seem to have thought that it should be easy. Is that not the reason we invented a form of heaven for every religion we created to explain nature and control people? This belief that “some day” things will be easier for us is said to give us some sort of comfort, though it usually just gets us to kill each other because your form of heaven is not my form of heaven is not their form of heaven.
The truth is, we bleed to live. We fight, we scrap, we claw. There is no easy way. There are things that could make it easier, fairness amongst our other humans or the knowledge that we and our children will have our basic needs met. But in reality, the majority of us will never have that. The majority of human beings will live their lives in fear, in poverty, and in war, and never know anything else.
And yet, here we are.
Those of us who have had to fight the hardest to be here, we might wonder why, but we have to come to a point where we realize we will never get our answer. Reality is as it is. Life is neither good nor bad, life just is.
The only truth I know for certain is that in each of us there is enough. Each of us has it in us to fight this fight, even when we feel broken and empty.
The best scene in anything ever is in the final episode of season 2 of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. (Skip to the 1:00 mark if you like. Whatever you do, don’t watch after 2:00. This blog entry is depressing enough.)
When it gets down to it, when we are at the end, what we have left is ourself. There is no one more powerful for you than you. We are not taught to believe that, we are taught that we are not enough. But we all are.
Each one of us is enough, in and of ourselves. This is why, at the end of the hard earned day, we find reason to believe.