The Dream of before is a powerful one, I should know, I created a website in honour and learning of those of our kin who came before us. I do my best to understand them on an intimate personal level not simply an academic one. I want to KNOW them as I know myself, to feel what they felt. I mean, life is not an academic study, but an emotional adventure. The dramas of our life are what define us, the loss of a loved one, the adversary we overcame and all the glorious laughter shared among family and friends. This means that when I relay certain events I try to add back in what the academics took out, I try to find the motivations, drives and passions of the people I am speaking of. This can give a sense of belonging and longing to be with them, to stand by their sides at their most defining moments. Alas, time though doesn’t work like that and nor should it.
Surrounded by decay, it is only natural to long for a time long gone, a time that is virile and alive. As we watch our world spiral out of control, as we stare into our children’s eyes and ask, what awaits them if we continue on our current path? It is quite easy to fall into the trap of wishing to live in another time. As a heathen of course, to imagine hundreds dancing around great pyres, a time when you knew the ground you stood on, you know where you were and where you belonged has obvious appeal. This though, is not who we are.
One of the most profound things I have learnt from looking back, is, we must go forward. Our forbears whilst they held their ancestors in great reverence, are marked not by a longing for the past, but rather a drive to strive forward. They wished to build upon the lives of those before, to make mightier their inheritance, not curl up into fetal ball longing for the womb of before.
For better or worse this lead the European to be the driving force behind all innovation, all excellence. He ascended mountain tops thought impossible, walked to the edges of the world, just to say that the unknowable had become a reality by his hands. Despite personal risk the adventure of striving onward, to seek out new boundaries, new realities, was too much of a temptation. The European, strives within and without to conquer his fears and thus himself. To be master of all before him and most importantly to remain the master of himself.
The European met fate where he stood, he did not plot and scheme in attempt to avoid the problems ahead. He stood tall and stared down the oncoming threat with stern look and clenched fists. His freedom was his life and his kin his sanctuary and neither were negotiable.
When we look back it should only be to push us forward. As children our mothers’ hand was a source of strength, when we were first learning to walk or whenever we felt scared it reached out to us and when we felt its grip it gave us the belief that everything was going to be alright. Then as we grew, as we became stronger, we stood on our own two feet, we learned to face the world by ourselves. Even as adults, to hold that hand once more, to feel the undiluted love of a mother’s touch can be a powerful source of encouragement. As comfortable as it is though, we KNOW we cannot stay there too long, so with knowing smile, we brush ourselves down and head back out into the big bad world to carve our own fate.
When looking at our magnificent history it is much the same. We can take comfort and solace within it, allow it to give us inspiration and the courage to move forward, but we must not to get lost in its illusion. If we are to have a future as a folk and a faith we must strive to capture not their every action, but their indomitable spirit and in their honour make a life affirming vow to keep striving no matter how dark the world becomes, because now it is our turn to hold out the comforting hand.
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