Today I stood on ground where men were shot. I stood on ground where men were weak. I stood on ground where men died for their beliefs, stared down their opposition, and had more in their hearts than fear of death.
There have been so many moments during this trip where I have felt an onslaught of emotion that I could hardly ever get across. I have listened to stories and seen pieces of history that have wrenched my heart and muddled my brain. There is no word for the feeling you get when you stand in the spot where history was created, where the entire direction of a country was altered. Perhaps there is a word in another language but for all of its popularity English lacks in adjectives. There are quite often no words for the emotions we feel and we end up writing paragraphs of strung together ideas and, upon reading them back, realize that there is still no justice for what our souls discovered.
It’s the hardest part about learning something that changes your perspective – you never really can explain to anyone else why.
I walked through the hallways of that old jail today, past cells where famous Irish men spent their last days, stood in rooms that held prisoners before execution. I looked at the still decrepit walls despite restoration and felt everything, all at once.
When you stand somewhere that has housed so much history and with it so much death, you turn in on yourself. You think. You thank. You wonder.
If I was standing where those men stood, would I be the one who opted to be blindfolded? Or would I be the man who stared my firing squad down, causing them to tremble?
On a scale of one to ten, where does my strength lie?
I think that life has a funny way of coming up behind you and rushing past, you not even aware it happened until you’re laid out by it, watching its last trail drift away. You don’t have a second to stop and think and consider. You don’t have a moment to wonder who you’ll be when it happens. It’s just going to happen.
So maybe we all just need to learn to live, conscious always of the fact that life, at some point, is going to rush up behind us and take everything.
In the meantime, we need to look ahead with a passionate heart, a scathing tongue, an empathetic soul, and a weakness for beauty.
Without those, there will never be any strength to register on that scale.