Sometimes we have the tendency to think that in order to show our loyalty, love and devotion to something, we have to demonstrate it by some grandiose and glorious sacrifice. We may think of the everyday mundane tasks as not worth our energy and that if we are not battling in some glorious battlefield, literal or metaphoric, that we are not fighting the fight for liberty.
When I’ve heard the song “I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, which includes the lyrics:
…I would fight for you, I’d lie for you, Walk the wire for you, yeah I’d die for you …
Some consider this a very romantic idea, but I wonder if theywould be so enamored if, instead, it said:
… I’d forgive you, I’d tell the hard truths to you, Wash the dishes for you, yeah I’d live for you …
To me, this is far more indicative of the feeling of love. There may be a tendency among some of us to think that the more people know who we are and the greater our prestige and celebrity, the greater our influence.
We may see people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, and other glorious heroes from history, compare our own lives to theirs and feel that we come up lacking because we are doing the glorious and grandiose things that heroes of the past accomplished that what we do in our homes every day does not matter.
In the book Taran Wanderer, Taran started his journey of self-discovery with these same misconceptions about himself and what it means to be honorable. He hoped to find that his parents were of “noble” birth so that he could feel worthy to marry the Princess with whom he had shared many adventures. Through his quest and his interaction with the communities of the Free Commots, he came to understand that nobility is found not only in doing the daring and gloriously heroic deeds of legends, but also to learn to appreciate what may seem tedious and to work in the mundane everyday tasks required to create anything of quality. He found that learning to make something of beauty does not start with simply making it, but requires an understanding of all the preparatory work that must be done to make sure it is done well and has more than a superficial quality. He also found that to work peacefully at creating something of beauty, utility, or both brings just as much of a sense of honor as fighting alongside friends and neighbors to defend against thugs and highwaymen.
When the time comes to do the glorious deeds of which legends are created, we must not be afraid to put our life, or even our personal liberty in jeopardy in defense of the truth. But we must also be willing to do the everyday, non-glorious tasks of working every day to support our family, spending time with and getting to know our neighbors, helping out people we find who could use a helping hand, being a good friend, keeping our home and our yard clean, and raising our children to be productive members of society.
What makes an honorable man or woman is not the size of the sacrifice asked of them, but whether they are willing to pay whatever price is required to accomplish honorable ends. Even if the price will not bring notoriety, and others may scoff at the relative honor and glory of their assigned task in the fight for freedom, sometimes what is asked of us is that we be willing to sacrifice our pride in how others perceive us and find our pride in our contribution to building something truly worthwhile.