Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Lantern Bearers

Hola mi Gente,
I just realized it is very hard to pick the winning lottery numbers. I am still a broke motherfucker, y’all. LOL

When I was facilitating workshops, I was always on the prowl for good stories. I believe very much in the power of storytelling. Out of all places, I got this from a children’s book, part of a series.

Gather around my people… have you ever heard the story of Rutupiae Light?

* * *

The Rutupiae Light
We are the lantern bearers, my friend; for us to keep something burning, to carry what light we can forward against the darkness and the wind.
-- Rosemary Sutclif, The Lantern Bearers

Roman Britain in the fourth century was considered one of the most civilized places in the known world. Culture, literacy, medicine, social rights -- all the things we think of as advanced. There was a huge lighthouse at Rutupiae, where Dover is now, and every night the residents lit it. Its function was largely to guide ships, but it was also symbolic: As long as that lighthouse burned, Britain’s enemies knew Rome protected the territory.

But this was during the decline of Roman Empire. The glory days were long gone, and the Romans had enemies of their own. Eventually, the Roman troops were ordered out leaving Britain at the mercy of the notorious Saxons. Barbarians, the Saxons painted their faces blue, drank blood, raided, raped, and enslaved. They were that bad. Without the Roman Legions, Britain was doomed.

There is a story that goes that the night the Legions sailed for Rome, a group of soldiers disobeyed their orders and stayed. It was certain suicide. They were vastly outnumbered and had no chance of winning. But they stayed and they continued to light the Rutupiae Light. 

Now one may say that it was foolish. How long could they fool the Saxons? Why stay behind and die to keep a light going for a night or two? 

That’s one way to look at it. Another is that faced with the end of a dream, they chose to stay and fight and to hold the darkness back -- even if only for a night or two. You know what they were called? They were called the Lantern Bearers.

You might think of the fall of Rome as if it happened in one day. Like one day, there was this thud and -- boom – finished. But it didn’t happen that way; it never happens that way. Throughout history empires have died slow and from the inside. Like cancer. And sometimes I walk through places that are like that. Places covered with tumors, but no one is looking and no one is talking. As a society we have accepted leaders that profess to hate government and a government that hates itself cannot, in all good conscience, be any good. In place of a dream of The Great Society, we have built prisons. In place of culture, literacy, and freedom we have allowed and even encouraged a society predicated on enslavement and ignorance and we turn and blame the very victims of these policies.

And while this dismantling goes apace, we sit and entertain ourselves with fiction posing as reality. We sit, solitary figures, before the blinking light of the TV and watch others date, though we ourselves have no dates. We sit passively and watch others live and yet we have no lives to speak of. That is our reality, our God.

And almost no one cares to keep the light burning… 

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization

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