A Call to Honor (Written October 21, 2016)
Where are those men who once the world did gaze upon in awe?
Who battle and the valiant fight did always seem to draw.
The men who scorned the lesser things, who sought their duty first,
Who gave their all and begged the world to try and do its worst.
Where are they now, those mighty men, who fought the worthy fight?
They did their task and so they fade into the veiled night.
They lay in a land beneath the mists, beyond where the sun may fall
And from their rest to other men to greatness they still call.
My little brother just finished reading this book called El Cid: God’s Own Champion. I love the book. El Cid was an incredible man, and his life story is incredible. My little brother has been reading up on a bunch of historical figures, lately, and so we got to talking.
So, I am a rather big fan of fantasy, right? This is no secret. That being said, fantasy has nothing on reality. There are times when I am reading a book and find myself laughing at how incredible a character is. Like, yeah right, nobody is that amazing. Then I start looking at history… However hard we try to make”OP” characters, history has us outdone. Kings who laid seige to castles entirely by themselves, knights who marched into certain death at the call of their rulers. I can’t recall which Otto it was (I’ve been on a quest to find more accounts of whoever it was, but there are a lot of King Ottos), who stormed a castle to rescue an imprisoned princess, and then rode away into the sunset with her on his white horse. Art imitates reality, I suppose, in the end.
My little brother, as he is going through all these stories, came to an interesting conclusion: like Tolkien proposed in Lord of the Rings, man is fading. I find that I both agree and disagree. I think, as we create more and more things to make life easier, the vast majority of people stop challenging themselves. Add that to the fact that, for most of the world, a life can be lived without ever encountering the sort of challenges that the great figures of old rose up to meet. Rather than man’s capacity to greatness fading, I think man has not had to face the sort of challenge that causes those great figures to rise up and answer… But, also, I feel we are failing ourselves by acting like a great difficulty is needed to give rise to great courage.
This is why I love history, and literature, and encourage young people to read lots of both. I want to encourage them to seek greatness through the mundane. It is not beyond your grasp, so long as you will stand up and reach for it.
Draw that line in the sand, for yourself. Today, I promise myself that I will keep at bay that pathetic and unworthy cowardice that has restrained me. I will be a bigger, better person. I will strive e for greater, higher things. I will not be satisfied, and I will not be content.
I hear the voices that call me from beyond the stars and beneath the mists, and I will answer.
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