He answered my question: "How to you deal with being cast out of paradise?" His answer was: "How can you bring paradise to other places except by leaving it?" I was dumbfounded. And I'm rarely caught speechless.
So I put to him my question of how to get out of bitterness. His answer was, "How do we know our good is supposed to reach this generation? How many people were never recognized until centuries after their death? Do you think Harriet Tubman would believe there are statues of her all over the place? Not on your life. The point isn't what happens now. The point is what happens in a scope we may never have the ability to comprehend, it's so grand. But why should that stop you from trying? How else is it going to get out there if you don't put it there?
I challenged back that, sure, I kept trying. But I didn't do it with hope in my heart or any sort of grace. It was raw stubbornness that kept me going and now that I've reached success it's come too late. It's like the scene from The Last Unicorn:
MOLLY GRUE: (gasps) No. Can it truly be? Where have you been? Where have you been? (yells) Damn you, where have you been!?
UNICORN: I am here now.
MOLLY GRUE: (laughs bitterly) Oh? And where were you twenty years ago, ten years ago? Where were you when I was new? When I was one of those innocent, young maidens you always come to? How dare you, how dare you come to me now, when I am this? (She begins crying. The unicorn puts her head in Molly's lap, and she caresses it.)
SCHMENDRICK: Can you really see her? Do you really know what she is?
MOLLY GRUE: If you had been waiting to see a unicorn as long as I have...
SCHMENDRICK: She's the last unicorn in the world.
MOLLY GRUE: It would be the last unicorn in the world that came to Molly Grue. (She sniffs.) It's all right. I forgive you.
Why did success come now, when it's too late to fulfill any dreams I had? And he said, "Where are my limitless resources to fulfill the dreams I have? It's not about fulfilling our dreams the way we want to, it's trying to figure out how to fulfill them in a world that's based on limited supply---what good can we still accomplish anyway?"
And I knew he was right. I was robbed. There's no doubting that. I was sorely treated and greviously wounded in a way that will haunt me the rest of my life. But my capacity to love and to show love has in no way been diminished. My ability to teach and to help others and spread goodness in the world has not been diminished. And I may never know the true extent of my impact on the world, but no one really gets to know that.
"So given the choice of living in regret of the death of your dreams, and making the best of what's left to the greatest possible good, wouldn't you want to try for the latter?"
Yes... Yes I do.
Alright 2013... My loins are girded; my head's held high. Bring it!