Hero's Journey Revisited
I have spent some time moving all my 2018 posts to a personal website because I want those posts -- and the whole of this travelogue -- to be accessible for everyone who cares to follow it. Some people have given up on Facebook and others were not a part of the "Caring Bridge" site, so all of it is now being stored on Loofbourrow.INFO - although I'm still in the process of copying "-The Sequel" posts.
You can read the original post here...
Waaaayyyy back in 2018, when I was journaling about my first journey with cancer (see what I did there?) I posted about why I was avoiding language (and conceptualizations) of violence and competition. Now, past the second journey and facing the future, I want to revisit and evolve that commitment as I go forward into the possibility of more cancer (and/)or liver transplant.
In the above post, I stated that I was uncomfortable with the idea of "BATTLING CANCER" or "WINNING" some competition with the disease. Rather, I wanted to consider it a "Hero's Journey" (in the classical sense) where an important, life-altering task is put before someone who is in no way equipped to accomplish. The 'hero' must learn much, make sacrifices, and enlist the help of others who must also make sacrifices.
My two journeys have shown me there is always a "price to pay" along the way. Several. There is pain, there is expense, there are compromises, and there are BOTH failures and successes as results.
In the classic Hero's Journey, after the protagonist has made the ultimate sacrifice of self to overcome the Evil One, he returns to the "ordinary life" from which he started -- but CHANGED: Wounded (and perhaps healed), Wiser (with a new perspective), and with a hard-earned Gift that he brings back to share with his community. This is, in part, why I am blogging about the experience.
So here is part of what is 'evolving' in my heart's journey lately. I would appreciate YOUR THOUGHTS on these topics:
- There's more than one journey in life. They get harder each time because the consequences are more profound and the options narrower.
- It becomes clearer each journey, at each step, that there is no "destiny" to fall back on or magical swords to be gifted. Just WANTING to be successfully does not make the hero successful. Magical, "positive thinking" can perhaps keep him motivated, but it is the actual HARD WORK and RIGHT DECISIONS and EXTRA HELP that actually creates the success.
- Every time there is success, it becomes ever more critical that the hero (and his faithful sojourners) share the journey's GIFTS widely -- so everyone can be equipped for their own journeys when their time comes.
- And here is the hard one, because it is so ALIEN to our thinking and yet so obvious: Eventually, inevitably there will be the journey from which the hero does not return. This is an absolute truth for everyone who journeys on this earth. We must prepare, like all the other journeys, and realize that its end is also a Success, but of a different kind.
I added a picture I composed to the "Hero Journey" post depicting Tolkien's Samwise carrying Frodo up the mountain of Mordor where Frodo must cast the Ring. Just before this scene, Frodo was exhausted and unable to climb further. Sam says, as he lifts his friend for the final ascend the volcano, "I can't carry IT for you, but I can carry YOU!"