Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
When I look back on what I’ve learned from history, two main categories jump out at me in relation to the remembrance of names. The first is those who try to increase the size of their name, usually by means of gaining and forcing power on people. The other is those whom, like Steve, develop a dislocated heart for a certain cause or persons and spend their life sacrificing for them.
My friend Ted brought my attention to Troy, which illustrates this so well. Brad Pitt’s character, Achilles, spends the entire movie fighting and living for personal pleasure. He is a mercenary, caring only for his own well-being and what others will remember him by. As a mercenary soldier, he has a decision of whether he wants to fight in each battle. There comes a point in the movie when an oracle warns him that if he leaves to fight in the movie’s last battle, he will make his name great, but will surely die. He does not have to think about it long; he boards the ship to seek his own renown.
Then there is Achilles’ rival, Hector, a true king. Hector is forced to battle through circumstances he could not have controlled. He fights valiantly, not for himself, but for his family and the people he is called to protect. I want to be Hector. 99% of the time, I feel like I am Achilles. I am embarrassed when I really reflect on how much energy I spend pondering how to make my name remembered for my own sake. Most of the time, this all happens subconsciously. But it is there.