The hope for the future lies in our past. I believe this to be true.
But, not as a collective. Not as a society, or as a country, or as a race. The hope is in our individual past. It is in, The Spark.
It's that moment, or series of moments that we've all had. Perhaps for some it has long been buried by years of apathy and the leavings of a crumbling self. Perhaps for some it was squelched by an overbearing parent or militant grade-school teacher. Regardless, I believe we all have had it.
What is The Spark? It's when you discovered you could be Ian Paice using the pots and pans in your motheré─˘s kitchen. Ité─˘s when you figured out how to turn a piece of paper into a soaring jet plane. It's when you strummed your first E5 with the gain turned up to 10. It's when you blew out your gut onto a piece of lined paper. It was when you help hope and promise, not for the world, but for YOU.
Youthful exuberance. Vim and vigor. As you think about it now you are probably remembering back to fond times of yesteryear. That's good. Because when you become reacquainted with that feeling, you need to drag it back with you. Reinstall it into your psyche, your personality, your YOU.
It's hard to think that The Spark was what landed the Accounts Payable position for the financial institution. It's hard to conceive that it was The Spark that lead to the junkie with the needle in his arm. It's unimaginable that it was The Spark that has us deep into a conflict in the desert that is seemingly endless. No, it would seem in these cases, and many, many more, that The Spark was relegated to the back seat while The Retreat was riding shotgun.
The Retreat is where we went, and where we still go, when we don't want to cause trouble. It is where we, well, retreat to when we don't wish to take on the challenge of choice. When we fear the choice of becoming a professional Clown, egged on by The Spark, we then decide to pursue the safety of becoming an insurance salesmen presented at the job-fair hosted at The Retreat. We've learned from others that The Retreat is safe and will allow us to live a life of comfort and a resulting joy. The edges are all smoothed to keep us from harming ourselves.
The Spark is rough and ragged. It is possible that it can hurl us off a cliff into a crevice of danger, yet it also can propel us to the pastures of potential. We could go all in, sell our stuff, hop on a bike with just a guitar and some gusto and maybe make it as a well-known musician. In the effort, we may have to wait tables to put food on our own table. We may have to forgo owning IPODS and cellphones while forging ahead. But, the potential rewards for the soul, I would argue, are much richer than those who languish in the lap of luxury.
It would seem that far too many have forgotten their Spark while living in their Retreat. Many are unconscionably ignorant to the lack of fire burning within, while simultaneously feeling the chill coming, unheeded, through the windows of their Retreat. And so, that's where we find things. Those in the cold far outnumbering those still yearning and burning for what tomorrow will hold. But, it is not lost. We simply need to form the search parties to explore and excavate that which was left in the dead days' dust. Meanwhile, for those who have managed to maintain their fire, we need to keep stoking it and assuring that it is never quashed. It is this hope from our past that is going to give us the promise for the future...