Okay…. this is not the post I thought would be going up today. I had something all typed up about some of my favorite things from 2020, but I didn’t get it posted this morning and then… well, let’s not mince words: a group of terrorists stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stage a coup and overturn the results of the presidential election. They did this after Donald Trump held a rally in which he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to protest his loss. It is a turn of events that is as distressing as it was heartbreakingly predictable.
After that, it didn’t really feel appropriate to post a silly article about how much I enjoyed Bill & Ted Face the Music.
I don’t really have a lot to say here. I hope that my current readers already know that I am opposed in all ways to Trump, his agenda of racism and hate, and the people who initiated this seditious invasion today.
It’s been an incredibly stressful few hours. I’m just going to close this out by sharing two literary quotes that give me a degree of comfort in a challenging time like this. The first is an excerpt from Stephen King’s Wolves of the Calla. Some of it is particular to that story and the greater Dark Tower series, but broadly speaking, I think it can be applied here:
“Eddie saw great things and near misses. Albert Einstein as a child, not quite struck by a runaway milk-wagon as he crossed a street. A teenage boy named Albert Schweitzer getting out of a bathtub and not quite stepping on the cake of soap lying beside the pulled plug. A Nazi Oberleutnant burning a piece of paper with the date and place of the D-Day Invasion written on it. He saw a man who intended to poison the entire water supply of Denver die of a heart attack in a roadside rest-stop on I-80 in Iowa with a bag of McDonald’s French fries on his lap. He saw a terrorist wired up with explosives suddenly turn away from a crowded restaurant in a city that might have been Jerusalem. The terrorist had been transfixed by nothing more than the sky, and the thought that it arced above the just and unjust alike. He saw four men rescue a little boy from a monster whose entire head seemed to consist of a single eye.
“But more important than any of these was the vast, accretive weight of small things, from planes which hadn’t crashed to men and women who had come to the correct place at the perfect time and thus founded generations. He saw kisses exchanged in doorways and wallets returned and men who had come to a splitting of the way and chosen the right fork. He saw a thousand random meetings that weren’t random, ten thousand right decisions, a hundred thousand right answers, a million acts of unacknowledged kindness. He saw the old people of River Crossing and Roland kneeling in the dust for Aunt Talitha’s blessing; again heard her giving it freely and gladly. Heard her telling him to lay the cross she had given him at the foot of the Dark Tower and speak the name of Talitha Unwin at the far end of the earth. He saw the Tower itself in the burning folds of the rose and for a moment understood its purpose: how it distributed the lines of force to all the worlds that were and held them steady in time’s great helix. For every brick that landed on the ground instead of some little kid’s head, for every tornado that missed the trailer park, for every missile that didn’t fly, for every hand stayed from violence, there was the Tower.
“And the quiet, singing voice of the rose. The song that promised that all might be well, all might be well, that all manner of things might be well.”
I find it a comforting notion–the thought that maybe, just maybe, the universe is ultimately benevolent; that even when things seem dark, the world arcs toward the good. It doesn’t always feel that way, but that passage helps remind me that for all my occasional cynicism, there is goodness and beauty in the world, too.
That said, I don’t know if I truly believe that things skew toward the good. Quite often, I find the concept that people are fundamentally good too hard to swallow. But I’ve got another quote for dealing with that–one that reminds me that, regardless of humanity as a whole, my own choices mean something, and I can choose to put goodness into the world. This one is from (surprise) Star Wars, specifically the novel Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. At this point in the book, a fellow Jedi has pointed out to Qui-Gon Jinn that the concept of ‘balance in the Force’ implies an equilibrium between light and dark. This character has said that if balance is the end result of the Jedi, then individual actions are meaningless, because (in his words) it all ends in a tie, and what side you choose doesn’t matter. Qui-Gon responds thusly:
“‘It matters,’ Qui-Gon said quietly. “It matters which side we choose. Even if there will never be more light than darkness. Even if there can be no more joy in the galaxy than there is pain. For every action we undertake, for every word we speak, for every life we touch–it matters. I don’t turn towards the light because it means someday I’ll win some sort of cosmic game. I turn toward it because it is the light.'”
So… yeah. I don’t know where else to go with this right now. I’m feeling stressed and anxious and tired. I hope everyone is staying safe and mentally healthy. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you got something out of it. Check back on Friday for a fun post again! And hey, I guess I might as well announce that next week I’ll be launching a project where I break down all the Assassin’s Creed games.
Stay well and turn towards the light, friends.