Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Some nights, I feel the fire in my veins. I sit here, and I think of all the kind, gentle, fiery ancestors I've had. My grandfather was saintly. Never raised his voice to me, but once. But when he felt something was wrong, he would stand firm in the breach and it was as if a flaming sword was in his hands.

A flaming, two-edged sword. Some of you will know what I mean by that. He lived in a room full of them. I remember him filing, polishing, underlining; he never felt that his mastery was sufficient.

Once in a while he would tell me things, in his mild, resonant voice. He sounded like a giant hidden in the flesh of a man. He was sixty years older than I was, but that voice was strong.

He told me about the shield. He said that once upon a time, it was about being a knight. And a knight is a servant of a king, sworn to uphold the values and laws of that king. Those values, he said, were hidden in plain sight upon that shield.

There's a lot of blue. That is for things of the spirit, of the unseen, of what is above.

There's a lot of gold. That is for things of the world, for one should not be of no earthly use.

There is some red, and that is blood, shed to reconcile what is above to what is below. For Christians, that is the blood of Christ, and it is the mark of healing and joining.

There is a beast with three parts. It is historical, mythical, and not some sort of evil monster.

He told me that as symbolised by the lion's head, you should seek courage to do what is right, to act justly, to protect the innocent, and resist falsehood.

He told me that as symbolised by the eagle's wings, you should seek excellence to do your best, to act rightly, to aim for perfection, and resist mediocrity.

He told me that as symbolised by the dragon's body, you should seek wisdom to do what is merciful, to act generously, to defend the weak, and resist ignorance.

He said that if a school wanted to make good Christian men, then the vision should be simple — for all to be good, to be Christian, to be men. No doubt many would quibble about whether a school should have such ideas, but that was the vision of the Dauntless Hero. Whether the boys wanted to be such, that was a matter for their conscience, not for coercion.

He said, it's a pity that you don't learn what that shield means, although you wear it everyday on your shirt. You're a shieldbearer. You're a knight. Don't forget it, because you will carry it all your life.

And now I know what he meant, and he is gone more than sixteen years now, and I never got to tell him that I once shared his lessons with the entire school that he taught me was my home and my mission. The anniversary of his passing was Sunday, 10 October 2010. 10-10-10. He would have laughed at that, in his hidden-giant deep tenor voice.

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Blogger simply jon. said...

I understood this, and remembered that you once passed these words on to us.

And I remember them fondly. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 5:04:00 pm  

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