Thursday, 19 March 2015

Roll on, the eclipse

The great American preacher Mike Yaconelli once told the story of how he finally met his all-time hero Henri Nouwen. He had been so excited about actually meeting the great man that he got lost on the way there and arrived late. When the door opened Nouwen greeted him with a bad-tempered peevish rant about a spoiled dinner and a wasted evening.

It's hard when your hero lets you down.

There was an episode of the 1980s cartoon series Brave Starr on this theme. As his one-time hero is led away in handcuffs, Brave Starr asks: "How could you? You were my hero." To which Jingles simply snarls back: "I never asked to be your hero".

And there's the rub. It's our fault for putting someone on a pedestal if they eventually fall off. The drama is entirely of our own creation.

I like people. I really like people. I see the best in everyone. I want it that way. That's my problem. It's my fault that for me, everyone must be good if I'm going to like them. As soon as they seem to me slightly less than perfect I can like them no more. To my credit I will continue seeing only good for as long as I possibly can, but I have my limits. Then a trap door opens and they are gone out of my life for good. Behind me the street is lined with metaphorical corpses. Undoubtedly this is a bad attitude, and my punishment is to stagger from one disappointment to the next.

Well, they say the eclipse is a time of renewal. Roll on!
I comb the rubble of a shattered world to find the bright face of an angel
And say again and say again that I have written this - this is for you.
(Clive James)

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