Compassion, Sacrifice and Endurance = An Immortal Truth

Posted: November 24, 2015 in World On The Edge

Photo in Public Domain

Photo in Public Domain

“I decline to accept the end of man… I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” ― William Faulkner

If we believe there is a God who created each of us, then each of us is a child of God. And each human person has the divinity of God within him, or her. We call this divinity within us, the soul. It is the only part of us that doesn’t die. That makes the soul, and what happens within it, essential. 

As Faulkner says, the soul is spirit, just as God is spirit, and capable of great compassion, enormous sacrifice, and  inexhaustible endurance. We see these capacities expressed in many good people that we know, and sometimes we express those same qualities ourselves.

But often, compassion, sacrifice and endurance are not expressed by a person’s spiritual nature. Sometimes, he expresses the opposite. To an author, this is food for a story. This is the opportunity to illuminate the battle between good and evil as Faulkner does in his work.

Because there is today, and always has been, a battle between what is inherently good, and what is inherently evil, it is natural for an author to write about it. In a story, this plays out in particular characters—-people like us who struggle with what they believe is right and what they know is wrong. All of this happens in the soul, where our intentions lie. And we either shine our soul, or sully it, by our various decisions to accept good, or evil.

Most of us don’t like to hear that we can choose between good and evil. Some of us don’t even recognize immorality anymore. We can’t put a face on it because today’s humdrum, saccharine tolerance for ‘anything goes’ has blocked it out and blinded us to the better call in our own souls. But a thing is not good or evil because it’s trendy or popular.

I think, deep down, most of us know that truth is truth. Deep down, we know that absolute Truth endures, that it is not relative to public opinion, and that it is a twin of immortality. For me, it is most important for a writer to remember that, too.

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