“And they lived happily ever after.”
What does that actually mean?
Is it just another way of writing: “The End”?
Or does it reflect our collective dream that, after surviving some life threatening adventure, the hero comes home and settles down to live the quiet life, like the rest of us?
Might work for fairy tales. It does not translate to real life.
Today, we are living with a lot of damaged heroes. Guys, who survived life threatening adventures, as soldiers in far away wars or as first responders closer to home, but who are definitely not living happily ever after, now that they are home. And neither are their loved ones, who are often baffled by the changes wrought on their heroes by their experiences.
But wait, it get’s worse.
The hero’s journey is not just for soldiers and first responders. All of us are called to the journey. A lot of us are too afraid to answer that call. We’d rather stay home in the village, where it’s safe. Who knows what could be lurking in the woods?
Those of us that undertake the journey are changed by the experience. That’s the nature of the journey.
Strangely, you don’t always have to physically leave home to undertake the journey, but you do have to move out of the comfort zone of your normal routines. You need to challenge your cherished beliefs. You need to question outer authorities and find your own inner authority. You need to discover a sense of self – beyond the one the village placed upon you.
Those that find their own inner authority are changed people. They might not look any different on the outside – which is why we give brave soldiers special medals – but they are very different on the inside. These are the ones that maintain their sense of self no matter what conditions they find themselves in.
These are the people you often feel uncomfortable around, because their sense of presence reminds you that you are afraid of shadows. These are the ones that remind you that, although there might be safety in numbers, the safety of the herd requires conforming with its rules, with its thinking.
Maybe it’s the ones who never go on the hero’s journey that live happily ever after.
Too late for me. I’ve already left the village.
Thanks for dropping by.
Creative Commons Image from Unsplash.com