Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Battle to Fight, part 1

Back during high school, one of the most interesting academic experiences I have ever been a part of took place. My senior year English class with Mr. Schuster was nothing if not unique. The part of that class that had the most lasting impact on me was a project we did that lasted nearly a month. The project consisted of writing a poem and finding a song that reflected the mood or emotion expressed by the poem. Appropriately, this project was referred to as our song-poems.

The poem I wrote was entitled "blank white wall", and reflected my disillusionment with the disparity between life as it could be and life as it is. The song that I believed best fit the poem was "Imagine" by John Lennon, a song that speaks for itself. My song-poem combination was nothing special, and is nothing to brag on. This is not the purpose of my telling this story.

The purpose is what happened after I finished my presentation. Mr. Schuster spent a moment reflecting on what I had written and the song I had played, and then introduced me to something that would impact my life greatly. He pulled out a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and read out a passage from Whitman's poem Song of the Open Road. The passage he read was the following:

My call is the call of battle—I nourish active rebellion;
He going with me must go well arm’d;
He going with me goes often with spare diet, poverty, angry enemies, desertions.

In that moment, my teacher recognized something in me that I had failed to recognize in myself. I am a warrior at heart. I am a man in need of a battle to fight. It isn't that I look for problems or points of contention. Rather, I need a cause to fight for. I need a purpose that will wake me up in the morning and drive me throughout the day. I need to be challenged. I need something to believe in.

The quest I find myself on each day is to identify what cause drives my soul and stirs my heart. The quest is to find what I am passionate about. As I discover these things, I will share them here. I have identified some at this juncture in my journey, and I will write concerning them in the future. Hence the "part 1" in the title of this post. They stir my heart. Perhaps they will stir your heart as well.

Just remember, he going with me will be hungry, poor and unpopular more often than not. But I welcome you to come along. Lord knows I could use the company.

1 comment:

  1. Some of the best causes are the unpopular.And there are some causes that are very popular as fads (right now everyone seems to care about the RED campaign, human trafficking, etc., which are worthy causes, I just wonder sometimes how much people really care and how much they want to look like they care). The secret is to find something that you care deeply about, whether or not it's popular, and to do it with all you have.