Two-Faced Life

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
One of my favorite quotes–per Harvey Dent, the hero turned two-face from The Dark Knight. I heard it today, and spent the next hour of the movie trying to ponder what it means.
Today has been hard. Probably because everyone else is celebrating, and I feel like I’m supposed to also. And I can act like it, and wear red, white, and blue, and like people’s “Happy 4th of July!” posts, just because it’s what folks do. But all I can really think about is that today…today is the 2 month anniversary…at this time two months ago I was at work, not knowing it would be my last night…I was seeing him, not knowing that it was the last tear-free meeting we would ever have. Two months ago, I had no clue. Not a clue. Not a clue that I would still be hurting today.
I also like the part in Batman where Dent is pointing his  gun at Commissioner Gordan’s son and tells him something like, “Tell him it’s ok. Lie to him. Then you can really tell me that you’re sorry.”
It hurts to tell someone that everything will be ok when you know it will never be the way it was again. False assurance. False hope. And you know you’re lying but you would give anything just to see their eyes free of tears and pain for one moment longer. “It’s ok…you’ll be alright. We can fix this.” No.
Or maybe you tell it to yourself. “It’s ok.” And maybe it isn’t true.
Back to the original quote. It reminds me of another saying from the Iron Man 3 movie trailer, a quote which sadly never made it into the actual film. “Do you want an empty life or a meaningful death?”
I’ve thought about that alot. Both of those quotes only give two options–life or death. And death is glorified as always being the most heroic, sacrificial, freeing option, while life is shrunk to something that cowards cling to. Life or death…life or death…I can see Dent turning the coin–one side silver, one side black–over and over between his fingers. Finally flipping it. He didn’t die a hero. He lived long enough to see himself become the villain, and then died.
I wondered what that meant for my life.
But I think there are more options than just two. People don’t just have empty lives….they can have empty deaths too.
People don’t just have meaningful deaths. Life is so much more meaningful than death.
You don’t have to die to be a hero…sometimes living is the most courageous thing a person can do. The most sacrificial, selfless, freeing, and scarring thing of all. The most heroic. Example, Batman. 😉
I don’t want to look back, four months from now. Four years from now. Four decades from now…and think, “all I did with my life was watch Batman and cry and mope around and miss things from the past that I can never get back.” I don’t want to say I wasted it. I don’t want to live just to see myself become the villain. I want a meaningful life. The third option.
What about you?
Happy July the Fourth.

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