One of my first heroes, George Reeves. I don’t know that he ever understood his contribution to society.
I can’t think about what happened ten years ago yesterday, without thinking about the thousands of innocent people throughout the world, throughout history, whose lives have been sacrificed upon the altar of revenge. I am a pacifist who believes that violence is inevitable, for we are a broken people, prone to place the suffering of others below our own suffering. It is all tragedy.
I watch lots of movies; I love watching stories being told. Some have suggested that I spend too much time watching stories and not living one. I’m working on that. This afternoon I watched “Mongol,” a Russian/Chinese film about the rise of Genghis Khan. The Mongolian clans based their lives on revenge–he stole my horses, I’ll steal his wife. Temudjin [to later become Genghis Khan] decided that Mongols needed laws: “Mongols need laws. I will make them obey…even if I have to kill half of them. Our laws will be simple. Don’t kill women or children. Don’t forget your debts. Fight enemies to the end. And never betray your khan. “ For all of our supposed progress, I’m not sure that we have gotten beyond those laws. The prohibition against the killing of women and children seems to have been forgotten.
I also watched “Prince Caspian.” C.S. Lewis is another one of my heroes. Watching “Mongol” and watching “Prince Caspian” were very similar experiences; a quantitative difference in red paint. I’m not sure that’s what Mr. Lewis intended.
I grew up believing in heroes. Those willing to sacrifice their live in order to save another. That’s one good thing that came from the tragedy of 9/11– the honoring of the heroes who ran into the burning buildings. I once worked with one of those sorts of people. He ran into a burning building to rescue a trapped woman. And got chewed out later by a senior officer, for not putting on his protective gear before entering the building… He served a different Master.
I met the greatest of my heroes when I was in my twenties. An encounter that changed my life forever. He sacrificed his life so that we all could live. Unfortunately, His story has gotten so messed up over the centuries that it means very little to very many. His story isn’t an action tale. It’s the story of reaching out to people where they are and accepting them. It’s a story of compassion and forgiveness. And a story of bravery that does not rely weapons. Perhaps the greatest bravery of all.
I grew up with the illustrations of Howard Pyle, NC Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Hal Foster and lesser lights. Tales of adventure where good won out over evil… fairy tales, I suppose; in these times.
I dreamed, I still dream of following in their footsteps.
You can also view my blog at Chronicles in Ordinary Time: http://mjarts.wordpress.com/