A River of Undying Flames

December 31, 2010


29th annual Candlelight Vigil

A River of Undying Flames

It is with personal feeling that I write this.  Without it, none of these words would ever mean as much as they do.  I once wrote that as a writer it is not my purpose to change the world, rather it is my purpose to inspire greater men than myself to fight for and achieve things even greater than us all.

Wisdom is not learned from what we are taught, it is learned from personal experience.  It takes time to grasp the lessons of life and a mind willing to accept that it’s possible to be wrong.  When someone can look back at where they have been, examine this momentary state of their existence and gravitate towards a better life, they realize that in this flowing current of life they are not alone and that every action taken sends forth a ripple that alters the lives of everyone in this connection called humanity.

Indeed I say, this life is a river of undying flames, each flickering with the ups and downs of the human condition, forever flowing forward in the hope of greater things to come.

This night my thoughts are focused on the core of what it means to live a life of understanding.  Not of the power of influence, the satisfaction of material gains or the trivial choices in mundane living.  No, my focus is on the ideal that every human being has the right to live out their own life free of persecution and torment.  That we are all individually capable of being endowed with the reality that we are all equal.

Many have lived out their lives fighting for what some call a dream and many have died for it.  I say that it’s only a dream in the minds of those who are not brave enough to embrace it.  Every human hand is given the same value in its ability to labor, in its ability to protect and in its ability to show compassion.  Without regard for its color, shape, strength or by whom the hand is claimed.

Of the darkness in the human mind, I once wrote, “… Screams of agony, of the torture that I cannot save them from. The lies and the secrets, the false hope and the dying love that rips apart the souls of human beings. The shame and the guilt of bleeding hearts and the irony of our inevitable defeat.”

So easily we are led astray and so easily we forget what matters above all else.  When hope is on the verge of fading away and our dreams and desires on the verge of being taken away, we often allow ourselves to hold tight to the convictions of influential books, people and ideas.  Even when those convictions do harm to others.  We reach for them because of fear, in the desperate attempt to save what we see as stable and familiar.

Misunderstanding is always born from fearing the unknown, from abandoning the path of higher thought in favor of the simpler path of circular thought.  And while remaining within the known seems safer than venturing out into the unknown, we must realize that the only path progressing forward is the one paved in compromise.  We have to hold true to ourselves, but we must also walk forward to better the lives of everyone around us.

It is my hope that when each and every one of you reads my words, you acknowledge that upon your shoulders you carry the livelihood of other human beings, not just your own.  I fully accept that I am flawed, I am an imperfect human being who makes mistakes and finds it hard to accept all the differences of the people I meet.  I’m not asking for love, I’m asking for tolerance and compromise.  I do not want to stand behind you and I’m not trying to stand in front of you, I’m asking to stand beside you.  As equal.



This essay is available as an audio track on SoundCloud:

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