Friday, April 19, 2013

Epiphany: Its all about perspective

Okay, we're going a little multi-media this time, but I've had something of a personal epiphany.This is a little wordy, a little philosophical, and probably isn't a concise and solid as I normally like to write. Still, I felt the following was worth saying here.

First of all, a long time ago, my father used to show his friends a clip of the movie "The Wind and the Lion", where a US Marine company storms a foreign embassy. Knowing my father, said friends would all look at my dad after seeing the clip and say "you make sense now!".

For a long time, I had something of the same clip. Something that everyone just agreed was so perfectly "me" that they felt like it explained me to a T. If you've known me for a while, you'll probably get the comparison. If you're one of the people who just met me in the past year or so, you might not get the full effect, but still, the relevance of this should still ring true with you. And if you don't know me, it's still just an awesome battle scene.


Well, As most of you probably already know, I just recently was declared cured of a serious bout of lymphoma that more or less commanded all my attention for close to a year.

Since getting back into the swing of things, I've noticed a lot of differences in myself. Sometimes small things, sometimes not. I catch myself saying things, giving advice, and after the words are out of my mouth I am like "when in the hell did I become so f&%#ing articulate?" I mean, it's one thing to be well spoken, but I'm giving advice that people are now listening to. I say things that sound like they should have come from my mentors, but yet, when I think about them, they are my words. That, for me... well, it takes some getting used to.

But it's more than just that. I wasn't sure if I had changed, or if the world was changing how it saw me, but I was being noticed differently (and positively) at work, and I at least felt like I was suddenly more comfortable with some informal leadership positions I was being offered.

It wasn't until recently that I put it all together. What had changed wasn't me (per say) or the world. But rather the perspectives, both my own and everyone else.

Here, let me offer a metaphor. In those cheesy B marshal arts flicks from the 80s, the hero always went off on some personal trial where he more or less tortured himself, and the audience got to see exactly how tough he was through it all. This, of course, was supposed to give some deeper meaning to the final fight scene. But in the end, it was usually a chance for the directors to show how creative they could get on a shoestring budget. Even Star Trek did something like this (in short) for their resident Klingon.

I think, in a very interesting way, my dealing with cancer was like those trials and rituals. My character was tested and measured in how I dealt with my sickness and my treatments. My strength and determination was proven with how I fared under the hardest of it. And my integrity was tested and proven with how I followed through with the promises I made. 

More importantly, and like those B-movies, I was out of the loop for at least 6 months. I couldn't go to SCA, I couldn't go to church, my son's cub scout meetings, or even out with my family sometimes. In a very real sense, I had only my wife and my son to lean on, and even then, there was only so much they could do for me. 

And through it all, just like the movies, everyone who was interested cold watch me go though this, compliments of Facebook, this blog, and even one showing on youtube

The world. or at least those of it that were interested in it, had a front row seat to my trials.

Now, a year later, I am back in the SCA, I am back at church, I am back helping my son with school and scouts. Now I am back in my old life, but with something that I didn't have before. 

Perspective... on what I  can do... and what I have done.

My father's friends used to watch that clip from "the Wind and the Lion" and say "you so make sense now". Then My friends would watch the clip from "Zulu" and say "Wow, I totally understand you!".

I watched this clip with Worf  the other day, and suddenly said "My God, I understand myself again!"