Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 4, 2016 - The Line in the Sand


To draw a line in the sand is to take a stand.  It’s a message to the world and a promise to yourself that says, “This is as far as I will go and no further.  This is as far as I will let you come.  This is where I say enough.”  Drawing a line in the sand is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ultimatum issued to others, but more importantly, it is an ultimatum you issue to yourself as well.  This is where I do or die.

Many people flip flop back and forth so much these days that their decisions are actually only temporary ideas, whims that are whisked away with the slightest breeze, the slightest change in trends.  And each time they let one of their decisions fly away like dandelion fluff--no matter how small the issue might be--they weaken their ability to make real and hard choices and then stand by them.  Instead, with each passing broken decision, their will to resist and defend becomes more and more transparent until it disappears entirely.

The line has been drawn.
It’s a grave matter, to draw a line in the sand.  It’s not something that’s done every day, nor should it be.  It’s usually something done when all other options have been exhausted and all attempts at compromise have been annihilated.  It’s a decision borne out of desperation but levelheadedness.  I have made my choice.  Whether I stand or fall is immaterial at this point.  This is where I have placed my loyalties and beliefs.

You may recall J.R.R. Tolkien’s character Gandalf in the book “The Fellowship of the Ring” when he was fighting against the Balrog, a horrifying creature shrouded in darkness and fire.  When they confronted one another on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, Gandalf drew a proverbial line in the sand.  He said, “You cannot pass!”  (The movie changed the words to “You shall not pass!”)  He had reached his limit as to what evil he would allow to pass into the world.

You may also recall that the Balrog did not pass but fell from the broken bridge.  On his way down, however, his whip grabbed Gandalf and dragged him into the abyss.  And that was the end of Tolkien’s brave character who took a final stand and drew a line in the sand.  Except it wasn’t the end.  Gandalf disappeared for a long time but came back as a changed, more powerful, even wiser character.  It seems that drawing his line in the sand and being willing to die for it was a test that he passed, and in passing that test, he grew profoundly.

I have brought up characters from a fantasy novel on purpose because it’s easier for us to accept that fantasy characters deal with pure good and evil, right and wrong, life and death than it is to accept that we deal with the very same issues.  In our own world, those dramatic issues are often quite dulled for us (intentionally) by the media and our electronic gadgets.  The idea of who we are and what we stand for can become so cloudy and confusing for even the strongest person.  Day in and day out, our senses are dulled further in a purposeful effort.

But deep down inside, if we care to look, if we examine our own weaknesses, we can still find where our loyalties and beliefs lie or should lie.  It’s difficult to get to that part of ourselves because once we find it, we also find that we have to do something about it.  We have to draw the line in the sand, and we have to be willing to defend that line at all costs.

At all costs, we have to defend it.  Otherwise, it isn’t a line at all.  Otherwise we stand for nothing.  Otherwise we can and will be trampled upon and destroyed by the rest of the world, by the Balrog disguised and dressed in high fashion, toting politically correct laws that strike as hard as the whip on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

Drawing a line in the sand is not done lightly.  It is not done willy-nilly over every tiny choice that comes our way.  It is done over the bare basics and fundamental reasoning that make us who we are.  It is done when our core beliefs are threatened, when we are in danger of losing our souls.

By all means, draw a line in the sand.  But do not take that line lightly.  Once you draw it, you cannot undraw it.  If you do not defend it, you allow yourself to weaken.  If you do not stand by your word, no one else will stand with you.  So make sure that your line is a real line, a line you issue to defend your way of life, a line you are willing to uphold to the end.  This is not about stubbornness.  Remember:  When the line is drawn, all other choices and attempts at cooperation have already been extinguished.  The line is the final resort.

But by all means, do draw the line.

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