As I drove to get coffee this morning, I saw them out in full force. The mystics, the sages among us.
One was sitting by a quiet lake, book in hand, about to meditate.
Another was one of just a few left outside a church after service ended. They were holding hands and praying.
And then there was me, reading “Speeches That Changed the World,” sipping coffee out of my favorite cup—one meant to put some brightness into a rather dark morning.
When the world disappoints—when global leaders speak with brash idiocy and bravado rather than wisdom, when scared and hateful people do frightening and hate-filled things like they did in Charlottesville, Va. this week—mystics and sages maintain the energy of sanity. Even if we have to pull out our special mugs to keep our own.
They are wise enough not to try to make sense of the senseless but disturbed enough to feel they must contribute to the collective good. Reading, meditating, praying—these are not warrior strengths. But they can change a collective consciousness in ways no battle ever has. They teach what they learn, they speak wherever people will listen. They cook the dinners, bring the flowers, light the candles. Do you think these things are not revolutionary in times like those we’re living in? You would be oh so wrong. They keep us from wallowing in the misery of it all, beating our chests and spinning our wheels. They encourage us to get up, do good, again and again and again. No matter what hate throws at us.
My youngest is a sage. An old soul. He has been absorbing the written word in all its varied forms from a very young age. Stockpiling what he learns until he has a chance to apply it. I hope, as a mother would, he does so for the collective good.
I birthed a warrior also. I’m sure there are plenty of those out there this morning also; they were just not quite so visible on my drive. The governor of Virginia—now there’s a warrior. His words yesterday could not have been a clearer blow to hatred and bigotry. And I have a feeling, should the haters want to demonstrate again, they’ll find a well-armed force to greet them.
My warrior would run into battle without a second thought. Reminiscent of my father, who spoke and acted far too often without thinking first, I respect his traits. I remember my father speaking just once to me of the disciplinary action taken against him in the Air Force during WWII. He came to the aid of a fellow flight crew member in a bar fight on their weekend furlough. He paid dearly for it, but said that is what you do for friends.
My son, also loyal to a fault, is the same. As are most warriors. They are the ones who will go toe to toe with the hatemongers, face to face, fist to fist.
I have a little of both within me. As a woman who has battled a quick temper, a sharp tongue, and a tendency not to suffer fools lightly, I have done my share of warrior duty. But, as I’ve aged, I see the benefits of sagacity, of gentleness, of believing differently in a world that has forgotten how to believe at all.
I guess the world needs sages and warriors. I am not yet enough of a sage to say that with certainty. But I also allow room for the possibility that we will groom a hybrid generation—one that combines the best qualities of sages and warriors. We could certainly use that alchemy right about now.
I’ll close with a quote you warriors will appreciate, in light of Charlottesville.
“I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging sonofabitch Hitler.” –General George S. Patton Jr, in a speech to the U.S. Third Army on the eve of D-Day, June 5, 1944.
My father was a proud part of defeating Nazi ideals decades ago. There are precious few left of the Greatest Generation and we should listen to their words of wisdom while we can. Let’s not leave room for mass hatred again. Hate has no place in a generation that should know far better.
And now—from a warrior of words, better known as a sage with a sword: “I believe in the law of love . . . I believe you can do nothing with hatred . . . I would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man, and forgets his color or his creed. We will never be civilized until that time comes.” –Clarence Darrow, in his closing speech in defense of Henry Sweet, April, 1926.
Amen to that. Let’s go forth and bring light to our respective corners of the world. No matter what we are–sage, mystic, warrior–the world needs us right now.