When Do You Say, “Uncle”?
It is not in the nature of humans to give up; to say, “Uncle.” Society as a whole praises the hero, the successful; the stalwart individual who triumphed in the face of overwhelming adversity. We tend to look upon those who give up, whatever the reasons, as losers.
I have been working on a song for a future gig. You can listen to this intriguing tune from The Script and watch the video by clicking here. The lyrics, clever, poetic and insightful, speak to me. They beg the question: When to say when. Where exactly lays that fine line between hopeless romantic and helpless fool; between determined lover and restraining order?
As children, we are taught to never give up, to persevere. Bumper stickers remind us Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson led his team to Super Bowl victory with the simple line, “Why not us?” Literature is ripe with happy endings because of the hero’s tenancy. The Bible admonishes us to pray ceaselessly (Matthew 7:7-8), and that the Lord will reward those who are patient and persistent (Luke 11:8-10). Even the happiest place on earth was founded on the lyrics of a song sung by Jimmy Cricket: “Fairytales can come true/If you believe that they do…”
Belief and faith: two sides of the same coin. Flipping it only results in the same cliché: Hang In There Baby! Okay, but for how long? I have yet to find a crystal ball, Ouija board, Magic 8 Ball, fortune cookie, sage, soothsayer, fortuneteller, oracle, or wise old uncle that puts term limits on advice. And even if one was to surrender, to give up and forsake their noble quest, won’t they always be plagued with the unanswerable question: What if?
I suppose in some circumstances the inevitable is obvious. Most all battles have winners and losers; board games end with a clear victor; the race goes to he who finishes first, the rest are usually forgotten. But what about when it comes to matters of the heart? There is always another battle to win, another game to play; another race to run. And who says the participants can’t be the same?
If you are looking for some sort of clever ending here, some saying to take with you that yields solace on lonely nights, sorry. I’m as clueless as anyone. Perhaps if I had the answers I wouldn’t be writing this; or feeling these feelings of doubt and confusion. Robert Frost spoke so eloquently of The Road Not Taken. He made an excellent point. Unfortunately, he never told us what to do if the road chosen turns out to be a dead end.
There is another piece of bumper sticker wisdom that reads: There Is A Difference Between Giving Up and Knowing When You Have Had Enough. Perhaps I haven’t attained that higher plain yet; perhaps I never will. Prayer and personal poems; thoughts of laying an endless path of tulips along the road, to her feet, are more my speed. So for now I choose to believe in The Little Engine Who Could. I remain the hopeless romantic and foolishly hopeful… it’s who I am.
Click to listen!