Letter to the Future - Agents of Joy - XVI

Agents of Joy
6 February 2017

To Future

A great gift of growing, Future, is the slow understanding that life - no matter the degree of its cruelty or misery - comes drug forth by Agents of Our Great Faculties. They are people you'll name. Wisdom will scar his hands on the rope, Courage will throw her back, but damn if they won't rig, rivet, and frame a world around you.  One by one these people will gather themselves, as if to drip from cloud, into your life.  They'll be made before you and you'll know their power.  They're likely sweat-covered and out of breath, smiling sideways while they walk abreast your stride, pulling the world along with them.

I hope that as soon as next sunlight you meet your first Agents of Joy.

Of course it's a great unfairness that you won't understand right away that your parents are just there, next to you even now, lifting joy from your cheeks.  But they are the first of your cohort I think.  Without a doubt you are the long-awaited honored guest of theirs.

But I don't write to you in order to dust off the wings of family love and shoo the beast skyward.  I write because for all the shades of us that opt to build, the other half of our shadows keep to the temperaments of children while toying with the levers of grown and destructive humans.

The love of your brothers, sisters or neighbor will one day put you in the yard in a new dance, squared off to another kid. There you'll find your fists, your steeled jaw, a tasty beat in your breast, your brother may paint your face for war as mine did and you may not even know why, but you'll bleed, and feel good for it.  You'll share a memory of that day where you walked to the edge for your kin, and by your bare knuckles, they knew your love. I will struggle your entire life to tell you why that is both beautiful and good, and is the most dangerous of our identities.

Today we're building walls, Future, walls which do not come to us by way of any great faculty.  To find those fulcrums in time that we've discussed, we can learn from graffiti.  Where in the night teenagers slink into the streets and crawl these walls to name their oppressors or scrawl the poems of their people on the concrete firmaments of their occupier, look for the fulcrums of time just there.  Love of family or country can put you in the street, to be sure, but belligerents appropriate the power of that movement and dress themselves in the cheap garments of mannequin messiahs and it is your responsibility to call their bluff.  Because when they build the walls, they issue decrees that at once scream uncertainty and panic, and then promise sureness in the fist of the willing and security in the embrace of these sacred Resolute. You must name them too.

Never will your uncles or aunts scare you into allegiance.  More likely is that we will bring you in front of paintings.  And the text of monuments.  We will buy you beer on a hilltop and observe the opening rifts of concerts in the mountains and lose our minds with you.  We will buy you loose leaf or canvas. We will anticipate the lakeside nights joined by the cohort of your loved ones that I hope grows to the thousands and we will hear you state your need for violence and we will tell you to put your fists in your pockets. We will look for the Agents of Joy with you, as we have these years. We will tell you that, in turn, you will be among the Agents of Our Great Faculties for someone out there and in the assistance of those who need shelter or in the defense of those who would be violated or in the stead of someone who cannot themselves stand to face the world's great many bullies, we'll go to that edge with you, the mighty beat in our breasts and perhaps also our scarred knuckles but more important the understanding that this world is graced and pulled forward by Agents of Wisdom, of Courage, and yes, of Joy. And we will name them together.

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