Those of us who are on this crusade have much time to think, and as we gather together for what comfort we can find while the cold winds mock us as we approach the unhappy horizon, long bouts of silence are not uncommon as we delve deeply into our mind’s eye to ask what brought us here.
The question has two parts: First, how did we come to this point, a topic about which we discuss much on a recurring basis with a growing understanding that whatever the reasons for our problems now, our many years of inaction have made things so much worse. But today, the question is more about the second part, which is why do any of us fellow travelers care?
There is no cheering crowd to bolster our spirits as we trundle through many dark nights with only our faith to sustain us as darkness abounds and the cold winds blow. Like voices, they whisper with a mocking tone about all we cannot achieve, about how our future is lost, and they will consume all. They provoke us further by calling this destruction justice, knowing how it will infuriate those who still care about righteousness, and their mockery is deliberately cruel.
The people who will benefit most, those who choose to hide in the dying embers of a fading sun are sometimes the most hateful of all. Is it because we remind them of the obligations they still should honor but choose to forget? When did it become acceptable for a citizen to simply allow our country to have its entire population replaced just so we could have more inert and lifeless toys? Or to have more piles of paper sitting in some vault or digits on a hard drive. When did it become okay to sell out your fellow people so long as you made a buck?
I see how so many hate themselves now because they love money, love status, or love stuff so much more than people, integrity, or virtue. They defend wickedness with glancing arguments about tolerance caught in self-serving indifference, all so they don’t have to listen to their own conscience which haunts them with the knowledge we can do better. All men hear that voice, especially those who suit up for the fight, but some choose not to listen.
I wonder how many people in America have drowned themselves in vice and addiction from despair at a changing world that seemed to offer no chance for a better tomorrow. We imagine those people amongst the poor and destitute, and there are plenty who are, but there are just as many who live behind beautiful walls with well-manicured gardens who feel just as trapped and empty. A world without meaning and with a sense of the good will always drain the souls and spirit of men, and is that not what we’ve created so we can enjoy just one more day of peace?
Let us see that burn. Let us kindle a flame within in these dark nights when all seems wrong, where we emerge with a better sense of who we are. Let us learn from the old and not fear all that is new, but discover from this quest a new nation where the truth comes not from some object of our desire, but from the shared journey and fellowship to discover our better selves, and to reconnect with the understanding the world truly is larger than us. Praise that it should be, for it would be tragic if the limits of existence were our desires or even just our imaginations, as wide as they may seem, for man has ever trended toward choosing fear over hope.
Many who should ride alongside us in this desperate hour stay home for fear of failure, thinking it better not to risk the heart break of a real chance to fix so much. They hide their anxiety in well-practiced cynicism, creating excuses like lack of wealth or distaste for their fellow pilgrims for why this crusade will fail. Yet, there is room for all men in common concert, from the poorest beggar to the richest aristocrat if their hearts are true, and if they honor one another in genuine commitment to a new brotherhood.
We don’t know where this crusade will lead. But we know we shall no longer be alone for having undertaken the quest, and as we wearily and uncertainly peer upon one another, strange allies in a land we once knew that appears so foreign to so many of us now, the moments of solitude and questioning never fully go away, but a stern nod or a hand on the shoulder remind us all that this struggle is not reserved to just one of us. It is all of us, and you are not alone.
Choose the possibility of success over the certainty of failure and allow faith to guide you toward a better future. The alternative is the destruction of all we love. Let that thought sustain you as you peer wearily toward our flickering flame and bring a log or two so the fire may grow stronger still. You will be welcome among us.