inspires us to perform extraordinary deeds: Acts of bravery.
Fighting dragons. Rescuing innocent people against tremendous odds.
Confounding evil in its many disguises.
What does that mean for us in today's world?
We see no dragons, other than those in the movies. Law enforcement
officers and prosecutors who professionally deal with crime. Politicians
represent our interests so we don't have to. The opportunities for
bold, decisive action just aren't as plentiful as they used to be.
If we take the idea of extraordinary deeds
and open our hearts to the possibilities, its relevancy soon becomes
Simply put, we are being called to surpass
normal expectations in our daily lives. That means not surrendering
when we fight for a worthy cause, even when others do. It means
being more honest in our integrity. Being persistent . Not following
the inclinations of the crowd. Always seeking the inner depth of
things. Forging a more complete commitment to love. Having the strength
to be gentle and courteous, and yet firm when appropriate. All these
actions and attitudes are extraordinary.
We can confront dragons on a personal
level-dragons such as drug or alcohol addiction, antisocial behavior,
or being a inattentive dad.
We can boldly challenge something
wrong even when public supports the other side.
We can be patient with others when
everything inside us wants to scream or run away.
We can increase our self-control.
We can resist the lure of illusion that
tries to twist our values by masking immorality as virtue.
In the musical Man of La Mancha,
Don Quixote sings about the Impossible Dream. He then describes
that dream as a purposeful meeting of challenges, conquering them
when possible, but never surrendering even when it leads to death.
Chivalry gives us the moral capacity for that same dream of heroic
purpose. It tells us that true moral action cannot be dependent
on reward or punishment, but on the pure and simple premise that
the "world will be better for this
" This is where
we find the highest purpose and meaning in life.
We also learn that most challenges are
not as impossible as they seem.
When chivalry calls us to perform extraordinary
deeds, what it is really calling for is to live an
extraordinary life. A life filled with authenticity, that
makes a difference in the world.
The truth is, life never hands us purpose
and meaning. We have acquire that ourselvesa willful choice.
And therein lies the secret.
We cannot believe, as the insanity around
us would have us, that the man of chivalry is a fool out of touch
with reality. We are not like Don Quixote, as Cervantes portrayed
him. What we see in the world is not illusion, but an inspiring
clarity that others miss. We might confuse or even frighten the
others by refusing to follow the herd, or rejecting the labels they
would have us wear. But that's okay. In certain respects, it validates
everything we do.
Men of chivalry must always be, first
and foremost, the conquerors of lies. Not followers. Not
consumers. Not the huddled masses. Certainly not sheep. We
are men confronting the world we live in. We are alive, a force
to be reckoned with, and not afraid to show it.
Chivalry is not some romanticized code
from the distant past. It is a personal transformation into abundant
life, a new autonomy based on values that comprise the very core
of your being.
To live the chivalrous life in today's
world of Madison Avenue values means to open your eyes to the truth
beyond illusion. See things as if for the first time. Evaluate them,
not with stale preferences from the past, but with the freshness
of a new encounter and with love.
Be open!. Be enthralled by the uniqueness
of every moment!
And then apply yourself constantly as a
force for good.