"We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be"
Angel, Season 4, Episode 1- 'Deep Down"
What a quote, eh? Sure it's taken from a television program many found kitschy or cheesy, but Angel's messages about the world reflected the goodness that can come from recognizing what's worth fighting for. If you know me, you know I can go on for hours about the relevance of Angel and Buffy, and you know that I like to; but this quote resounds with me particularly as an educator and humanitarian.
In context, Angel delivers the quote to his son Conner after having been brought back from the depths of the ocean by Wesley. Wesley had betrayed Angel in the prior season and this act was the beginning of his redemption. Angel told his son this line because Conner was awestruck at the fact that his father survived and was whining about the lack of fairness. This is a simplification of what occurred, but essentially Conner was rebelling against the fact that he was dealt a bad hand. And Angel's words resound from the heart of the show. No, life isn't fair- your background, the cards you were dealt, your job situation, your position in life- but that doesn't make it okay to to take it out on the world. Instead, show the world its potential. Angel then tells Conner that he's not quite ready to become a "Champion"- someone who fights the good fight once made aware what's going on- and proceeds to kick him out of his house.
And sure, the notion of being a "Champion" seems to belong solely to the realm of a fictional world with monsters and alternate dimensions, but we can take a cue from it, can't we? How easy it is to complain about something and then pout. How simple it is, if you think about it, to get wrapped up in simple, reactionary emotions over trivialities. However, to show the world that it can be better and to speak with confidence when faced with a daunting challenge- therein comes the struggle; but therein also emerges our inner champion.
I'm working at a difficult school. Ranked among the 6 worst in North Carolina. It would be really easy to give up, it would be really easy to simply complain. But I can't take that easy route; I won't let these innumerable odds weigh me down. Am I a champion? Hardly. But I'm working my way there.
But it doesn't stop at work. I'd like to pursue the other causes I care about more thoroughly this year. I also have many things I wish to achieve this year- including: learning to play an instrument; writing more; reading at least 2 books a month; etc. And sure, many of my desires are personal, but the achievement of my goals is a mirror for others to look into and find equal greatness within themselves. By living as the world is as it should be I show the world that it too can improve.
I guess that's my operating principle for this year. Live as the world were as it should be.
Join me and do the same.
(Cue Angel theme song)
(Or am I?)