Last week was Remembrance Day, and at some point, those gathered uttered the words, “We will remember…” It is important, very important, to remember the individuals who participated in past conflicts, and those who are currently participating. Some came home, some did not. Most who did return were irrevocably changed by the experience. We should also remember those on the home-front as their participation was just as important - if not more so - for keeping the morale of the soldiers up, reminding them of why they were doing what they were doing, and giving them a reason to keep going and not give up. And it was those left behind who ended up picking up the various broken pieces of life. It is important to remember, but what exactly are we remembering? World War I was “the war to end all wars,” and everyone said, “never again.” Then what happened? A mere 21 years later World War II broke out, and was worse than the “Great War.” That was followed by the Korean War, and later, the Vietnam War, and more currently, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. And those are by no means the only wars that have ever been fought. Lest we forget...but we HAVE forgotten. Every war, or conflict, in the entire history of humankind, while it may have been justified as being fought for outstanding reasons, and led to a resolution of sorts, merely highlighted the unbearable losses (which ALWAYS outnumber any gains), and ultimately, the sheer futility of the conflict. Our war “to end all wars” failed to prevent another one. Because of our “remembering,” we think peace comes by bullying someone to agree with us, or do it our way. It doesn’t. We think that peace results when we are all the same; thinking, believing, and doing the same things. It doesn’t. We think peace will appear when we steal the land, resources, or dignity of others. It won’t. We think peace will come if people suffer long enough. It won’t. We think the way to peace is armed conflict against another. It isn’t.
In the Monday, October 24, 2016 edition of the Red Deer Advocate, I read an article entitled “When Honourees Don’t Want Their Prize” referencing various celebrities who have refused to accept awards, most recently Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. Basically, the article looks down on the award recipients for not accepting the awards/honours.
Personally, I think the author, and personalities quoted, are missing the point.
First, an award or honour is given to someone based on something exceptional - in the eyes of the award committee or fans - that the recipient has done in their career or lives. An award is not conferred only on condition of acceptance.
Second, the award or honour is not actively sought by the recipient. “Someone else” has decided that the recipient is worthy and deserving. Thus, again, there is no condition of acceptance.
We all could probably name a handful of people we know, or seen, who are only doing whatever they are doing for the accolades. It is obvious when that is someone’s major motivation for doing something, and as such, their efforts lack heart and connection, coming across as empty and false.
I recently read of someone who desperately wanted to win a Grammy - that was their main career goal - but they didn’t even like singing! Now, why set a goal in an area where you have no interest, or sometimes aptitude? That person was making themselves miserable chasing a goal in an area that they couldn’t stand.
All of us, have a part of us that longs for fame, but it isn’t “fame” so much as validation that what we do, and who we are, matters. If you are doing something that is important to you, and that makes your heart sing, then the act of doing the activity will be validation enough.