“They must have been hoping for a better life,” Rodger said, “but most of them didn’t get it.” That is why he’d become a lawyer, after all, to help the huddled masses, but he’d quickly become disillusioned. How did you help people who didn’t help themselves?
He looked over the water at Lady Liberty. Maybe he needed this view to remind him why he had gone to law school. Maybe the Lady needed to remind him of what she stood for:
When I first read the quote above, I had no clue what it meant. I couldn’t form the words into any semblance of understanding. Then it hit me and I understood with every fiber of my being. Like a bodyguard protecting a client, we hide our sadness behind anger. Anger is our shield to protect us from exposing our emotions to the world.
So much of the world lives on the edge between sadness and happiness. The cars and houses and huge TV’s don’t bring the happiness expected. Instead, sadness settles deep inside, a loss we might not even understand. Because we won’t – or aren’t able – to admit the sadness at the center of our supposed ‘search for happiness,’ we pretend the sadness isn’t there. We get angry at the people, events, politicians, (add your own favorites) we ‘think’ are keeping us from the happiness we deserve.
The truth is, we aren’t entitled to ‘happiness’ just because we exist. Every one of us is responsible for tearing down our own shield of anger and confronting the reality of life. Is all the anger in the world just hiding sadness over lives failing to fulfilled our own expected potential?
I lash out when I’m sad, trying to avoid some issue in my life. I don’t like feeling out-of-control. The funny thing is, I know I’m hiding but I can’t help myself. It’s easier to blame the world than to admit to the sadness settled inside me. It takes me a few hours, or days, to talk myself around to admitting the sadness hiding behind my armor.
If I am sad over a bill, with no clue where to find the money to pay, I get angry. If only I had a better paying job; didn’t have to support my (adult) kids; if my mortgage company hadn’t screwed over some perceived slight. You get the picture.
We all struggle with these feeling ever day. It’s the ostrich head in the sand syndrome. If I don’t acknowledge the problem, it just might go away. I might win the lottery (if I played) or I might find a fortune in my attic (fat chance). Or I might just wind my way around to acknowledging my anger and deal with the problem head-on. It doesn’t matter if I come up with an acceptable solution – such as where to get the money – I’ve confronted the issue. That alone given me the peace needed to calmly and logically deal with the problem.
What if we could strip away the anger of the world, banish every shred guarding the sadness of an entire planet? What would be left for every man, woman and child? Sadness. And then what if we acknowledged the sadness, every one of us on the entire planet. What if nobody felt out-of-control?
If You Could Trade Lives With Someone, Who Would It Be?
What a hard, but fascinating, question. I think it would be hard to choose. Should I choose a real person – knowing the outcome of their life from history, or should I choose a fictional character, still knowing the outcome of their life from the novel or story. Either way, I would want the trade to be temporary.
For the ‘real’ person from history, I think I would choose somebody from the Court of King Arthur. I am fascinated by that time in history and would love to know if any of the stories are real. Because I’m not a long skirt and passive kind of girl, however, I think I’d have to trade places with one of the knights or even Arthur himself. Just for a little bit; just to see what the world was like back then.
As for a fictional character, there are so many who’s lives I would like to experience and explore. One of my top picks would be Richard Gansey III from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. To be honest, I fell in love with Gansey while reading the books and would love to see the world through his eyes.
“Poor little fellow,” Johnny remarked, peering in at the taxidermied fox behind the glass. He wondered how long had been dead; why somebody decided to stuff it and put it in a museum. Wouldn’t it be better to see the fox alive, in the wild?
Dan shrugged. “It’s just a dog.”
“Fox,” Johnny corrected.
“Whatever. Come on, I want to get some chips before we go back to the bus.”
That had been Senior Year, twenty years past, but he still remembered the dead fox. He had no idea if Dan had gotten his chips, but the blank look on the fox’s face had stayed with him all those years.
Putting his binoculars back up to his eyes, he watched the kids tumbling and playing around the den. Mother fox lay nearby, guarding her kids from that dead fox, twenty years in the past, blank eyes staring into nothing.
He stood outside Traitor’s Gate, waiting, watching, thinking ‘traitor’ wasn’t necessary the best name for the place. Upsetting-the-King Gate might be the better title. Either way meant death.
The stink from the river rose up around him, a smell he’d known every day of his life, but had never grown accustomed to smelling. The river, the heat and the stink of unwashed bodies defined his world.
The sound of the boat coming down the river came to him, sharp and clear. Wood on wood. Water on wood. Oar by oar by oar.
The Prince sat quiet in the center of the boat, hooded, head bowed, resigned to his fate. Once he was dead, nothing would stand in the way of the Pretender. And that would be the end of Britain as they now knew it.
The Gate creaked upwards. The Prince’s body shivered. The Gate closed.
He stood for another moment then turned away. Just because Britain would be different didn’t mean it would be bad.