Some words from Elizabeth Gilbert for today
Dear Ones –
I know that this is a difficult day for many of you.
I know that many of you are overcome right now with fear, anger, confusion, and despair.
I hear you.
I want to try to bring you comfort and courage — without making light of the truly alarming situation that we now face in the world. Because it is true: This is some seriously scary business. A dangerous man is about to be given an enormous amount of power.
Now, this is not the first time in history that such a situation has occurred. Dangerous men will always try to take enormous amounts of power; it’s what dangerous men DO. It never goddamn stops.
But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this line from John Steinbeck:
“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. Humans are caught — in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity, too — in a net of good and evil. THERE IS NO OTHER STORY.”
This is the one and only story of human life on earth. Which means: There will always be darkness and evil.
I don’t know. (That’s God’s business, and I stay out of God’s business.)
But I do know one thing:
Darkness and evil ALWAYS have an interesting side-effect.
Darkness and evil ALWAYS give opportunities for heroes to rise.
Which brings us to the question pf Harry Potter — who I have also been thinking about a lot over the past few weeks. Please remember this simple example: Without Voldemort, Harry Potter is a very ordinary boy. Without the terrifying challenges of darkness and evil, Harry never would’ve had the opportunity to find his own power, his own strength, his own leadership, and his own magic.
This is just as true for your life as it was for Harry’s. Without the presence of darkness and evil in your life, you will never be challenged to know your own goodness and courage.
And if you want to look at this question from outside the realm of children’s literature (fair enough!), here are some examples from real and painful human history:
Without the darkness and evil of segregation, Rosa Parks is a completely unremarkable seamstress.
Without the darkness and evil of institutionalized American racism, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is just a regular Baptist preacher.
Without the darkness and evil of British Colonialism, Gandhi is just another runsuccessful local barrister.
Without the darkness and evil of the Soviet Bloc, Vaclav Havel is just another random playwright.
Without the darkness and evil of apartheid, Nelson Mandela is just another law student, working as a night watchman to pay his bills.
Without the darkness and evil of militaristic oppression in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi is just another well-educated wife and mother from a nice family.
You see where I’m going with this?
Darkness will always rise — to be sure.
But a hero of the light will ALSO always rise.
I know this to be true without a doubt, because THERE IS NO OTHER STORY.
We have a choice now. You have a choice now. You can cower in fear, or you can rise up in light.
So…who will our next Harry Potter be?
I want it to be you.
I want it to be me.
I want it to be US.