Originally uploaded by lorenzodom
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson—
It is Good to be Reminded
Sometimes, we need to be disparaged,
belittled, made to feel really small.
And, we need to be ignorant
of all the whys, wherefores and the
how this hurt came to be.
Because we need to be reminded—
we likewise have the power to hurt,
to pick at people with our ideals and agendas,
to make little ones feel smaller,
and bruise the hearts of big ones too.
For I can tell you:
It takes a lot more strength and courage to love,
to uplift a soul, especially when we cannot expect
them to love us as well, as much, or even—at all
in return; and especially, when you have to
offer them the other cheek.
A super man does not tower above others.
Rather, he is strong enough to sit beneath them
to wash their feet, the cleaning cleansing their souls;
he must forfeit control for the sake of regaining
a truer sense of self, one often lost along the way.
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
—Gospel of Matthew 5:38-42—
Note: The imagery and verse above intentionally blend Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch as conveyed via Thus Spoke Zarathustra, along with the ideals proselytized by the classical teachings of Christianity.
As per the poem, I personally believe that it is much harder to unconditionally love, than to fight, defend or offend. I believe God is Alive, but as the love that emanates from within, not as a force outside ourselves. We each have the power to overcome the shortcomings of popular ideals and the constructs that constrict our ability to achieve our greatest individual potential; a potential that for me includes loving unconditionally, an unhampered expression of our idiosyncrasies and individual creativity, as well as the development of one’s own personal values, ones much like those expressed by Emerson above, and ones that do not necessarily reflect those of the moral majority.
Photo Credit: This photo was taken at the Cathedral of St. John The Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on September 1, 2007 by Hughes500 /Christian Schierig, who was visiting from Düsseldorf, Germany. The color manipulation was done by me. The opinions relayed above do not reflect his own. You’ll have to ask him yourself.