I must confess to being so far behind the times that I couldn’t tell you if today’s topic is long-lost or largely misunderstood—or perhaps a little bit of both? In fact, the last time I heard it discussed with any vigor was in the treacherous swamp of drudgery some heroes refer to as “philosophy 101”, which I always thought was quite a strange choice. I’m speaking of what the greeks referred to as arete, what we commonly call virtue.
I must confess I have a deep love for most things with feathers. Feather dusters, feather hats, and the seemingly endless stream of small feathered creatures who somehow know that I always have a spare morsel for them somewhere on me. But for all of those, my favorite thing with feathers is a short bit of poetry that perfectly describes my feelings towards the hero who wrote it— ”hope”, by Emily Dickinson.
Today, I want to share a secret with you. In fact, it might be the most important secret of all time. It’s been the topic of many quests, many books, many songs, many debates. The quest for this secret has been the source of a great deal of negativity, as it seems quite difficult to nail down exactly what it is. In fact, as soon as you seem to have found this secret, it once again evades you. I’m speaking, of course, about the meaning of life.
It is with the gravest tone I write to inform you that I have learned we have an imposter in our ranks. I didn’t think it was so, but here we are, and I wanted to address it post-haste: yes, I’m told some of you don’t feel like heroes. That beyond the ordinary ups and downs of not feeling very strong, brave, or heroic, many of you feel as though you tricked your way into the rank and file of heroes who are fundamentally different than you, and you are, in fact, an imposter.
I need to address something today, and I hope I’m not too late. You may have noticed something on your journey: movement out of the corner of your eye, muffled footsteps deep behind you, or the eery feeling that someone—or something—is watching you. I don’t want you to look now, but you are being followed. It’s okay—it’s part of the plan—but it’s time I introduced you to the next character of your story: your shadow.