5A Vane Attempt

"Don't Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way the Wind Blows" 

A Series of Innocuous Blogs for Vainglorious Edification.

Of Loyal Purpose                                

January 18, 2006

Long after the courageous fall, the loyal still stand.  This arrived this morning on hearing a story about a student, kidnapped from a foster home and sold into foreign indenture at the turn of the last century.  It is something of an epic tale peppered with intrigue, betrayal, power struggle and the indefatigable loyalty of an extraordinary group of men and women.  What is so indelible about this tale is the underlying character of loyalty itself.  It transcends human bounds.  It is buried deep in the DNA and in the heart and soul of each of us.  Loyalty is the constant expression of courage that waves unflagging after the last of the courageous is taken.  It is any parent who faces the shame of a son or daughter.  A soldier bringing his wounded out from battle.  It is an athlete refusing to switch teams.  A musician adopting the traditions of his forbearers.   Loyalty does not flash or explode in a shower of sparks the way courage might.  It is slow, and steady and firm in even the most humiliating of storms.

The student was mistaken for the lost child of a wealthy industrialist who had offered a reward for his return.  The kidnappers, planning to extort the highest price possible, held the child captive while negotiating his sale.  When finally an agreement was made, the industrialist was brought to the point of exchange.  On seeing the child, the gentleman paused, shook his head, and walked away.  “That’s not my son,” he said.  And the plot collapsed into chaos.  Amidst the anger and fear there stood the ten year old boy, at ends whose beginnings had unraveled.  On hearing of the kidnapping a former teacher of the child came forward.  The teacher had held high hope for the boy recognizing his gifts in arts and sciences. He and a tribe of others vowed to find the child and return him to his native land where he could continue his studies and the semblance of normal life.  It was a vow he would often regret.  But having made it, and driven by higher instinct, he set out to do the virtually impossible.  

The story, though filled with intrigue and action is not the story.  At least not for our purpose.  The real story is about men and women who day in and day out face the extraordinary challenges of life.  They are challenges more difficult than the momentary depressions or exultations of fiction.  They come with regularity - the spousal affair, the teenager busted, the pregnant daughter, the baby born with defect or  the aging parent whose needs are endless.    Day in and day out these fractures in family and working life test our ability to withstand hardship and emotional maelstrom.  But extraordinary to human experience, this is exactly what happens.  Fathers defend sons regardless of their antisocial actions.  Mothers support daughters in love, anger and emotional collapse.  Sons and daughters support aged parents, holding their mental and physical hands as they grow weak, infirm and fearful. 

The loyalty of one human being to another is the real story.  It is a tale greater than courage or heroics or glory.  To stand in front of or behind the misfortunes of family, friends, comrades and soldiers takes more than courage.  Loyalty offers no parades or guest appearances or fifteen minutes. It requires the belief that the good in a person is never lost, never destroyed and should not be abandoned.  And even when tarnished, or corrupted, the good that caused one to care for another is still there.  It is, however,  in need of nourishment, protection and defense.  It is an uneasy task.  It is humiliating to stand next to one who is  reviled or ridiculed.  It is shameful to defend the shameless.  It is debilitating to accept on one’s own shoulders the burdens of another.  Yet this happens each and every day in human experience.  Without recognition or fireworks or spots on the evening news.  It is we think, one of the better qualities of human beings.  One of the qualities making them eminently worthy of  recognition, elevation and… loyalty.

It was uplifting to hear this tale today.  It arrived like a fresh breeze across an abandoned pond.  Because of it we are grateful.   We are grateful for all who have given their undivided love and loyalty to another.  Such is the fully realized action in the divinely forged expression: “You will never walk alone.”  To all those who stand beside, in front of or behind those you believe in - we salute you.   We thank you.  In gratitude.