In my book, The Great & the Small, the old blind rat, Balthazar, cries out for the rat colony to seek truth. As in fiction, those who stand up for truth in real life face grave risks.
We don’t want to see. We cling to our mythologies, our reasons why we can’t be whatever we secretly dream of, and most of all, we resist change. We resist change to the point that change-makers, those daredevils who scoff at the status quo, take their lives in their hands. Or paws. Depending upon species.
Balthazar reaches a level of heroism I can only aspire to—after all, isn’t that what writers do? We explore our own dark corners and wonder what could be? But heroism isn’t just for characters in a book. It is for us. Each one of us.
Every day that we take an extra second before pronouncing judgement that something is “good,” or something is “bad,” we take a step toward heroism. Every time we truly look into someone’s eyes, whatever their species, and try to understand, we step forward. Whenever we listen to the words of those who supposedly know, and question…we inch closer.
Time is short. And knowing this, perhaps we can take that stand, listen harder, look deeper, and seek truth.