A mole hill is not a mountain, that is, if you can climb it. Perhaps your definition of a mountain was too imprecise, rendering a rendezvous with Mt. Everest unlikely and the messy and worrisome possibility that your best attempt at leading marginalized men to the summit of their lives is a bluff. After all, you are a leader, I take it?
A bluff, if it can be made out to be an impostor, a pretender, no, a liar, then all great mountain climbers who dared to dream on its pesky ant hill peak, who had reveled in their nascent awakening of something special in themselves, who had boasted of that elevated spring board that forever changed their lives and for the better, may now not be too glib with their tales.
That ephemeral experience may now be replaced with silence or with so much halting explanations and qualifications of how you were seeing through the eyes of a child, that even your own sons and daughters who looked up to you and yearn to be mountain climbers are left unsettled by your explanations.
A tragedy, not so much of mistaken appropriation of a hill`s grandeur to willy nilly bestow it on a bluff, but to compound the inappropriate confusing and destabilizing title on a knoll incapable of casting a rain starved shadow to the other personal identity challenged mole hills, and nary an apology for such grave deception.
The drama, of what qualifies for a mountain is pretty exact, yet should a hill a few feet shy of that robust stature stand with its head bow in the certain knowledge that it is inadequate. More importantly, what if that hill insists that it is a mountain and earns the name Mt. Diablo from men who had scaled summits twice her height?
Where is the error, the falsehood, the claim to be what you are not? It’s against conventional acceptance, ill conceived, but when we give people or hills labels, we are imposing a subjective criterion of not only what is, but a clear delineation of how and what our expectations of them are. This subjective criterion may not be scientific or expressly rigorous or even easily defined, but still identifiable on sight.
There are rules of the road for the simple reason that they allow for conformity and uniformity, enhance stability of a group, and help us to spot trouble makers and outsiders and deal with them in a way that renders them ineffective going forward. In short, it preserves the status quo, or at the very least allow for dialogue and mischaracterization of what we find objectionable to a person or organization challenging the labels we had so benevolently bestowed on them.
Inherent in labels is the expectations you have been designated. Some irks and yet you may find a way to wear or tolerate that label and go beyond the station others had deemed you unsuited. You may quietly push back, no, defy and deny the pawn`s life and be no one`s jester or get to a point of being sick and tired of someone telling you what you are and what you will be, even as the rumblings in the bowels of God`s great earth rearrange the growth you had made from a molehill to a distinguished peak.
The net effect of your identity crises, a label lovingly given like Brutus` quiet blade, is a scattering of birds that had made your strong hills a home, men who had travelled far to farm your foothills and harvest your streams are no longer sure your company is for polite society, for you had committed the cardinal sin of misrepresenting yourself and by extension cast doubts on your credibility and integrity. How can I trust your leadership, from now on? Is not this a crisis of confidence?
It would seem to me that if a mountain climber who had prior to enjoy the challenges and dexterity of an impromptu mountain, enhanced his skill and his respect for the demands the mountain insist he makes, such that he is counted as a national treasure, for this mountaineer to disown the mountain so that his reputation not be besmirch when it is shown that the mountain is but a hill, is disingenuous. That is the greater tragedy and casualty.
I can only hope that when he is accused of unfaithfulness by the woman with whom, whatever her reasons, he had been having an illicit affair, he pays attention to the demands of protecting her reputation and respecting her right to be more than what others, including he, had insinuated she was.
Peter Peterkin, Readers Bureau, Fellow
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