On Don Quixote, Foolishness and Christ

July 20, 2015 at 7:52 pm (Literature, Musicals, Personal essays, Poetry) (, , , , , , , )

On Don Quixote, Foolishness and Christ

I was a boy at a public speaking competition
the prize: a trip to visit the UN in New York City
but I didn’t win
I came in second
so no trip to the Big Apple for me
just a week at a summer camp in the Alberta Rockies
My uncle tried to cheer me up by saying the truly great orators of Roman history often started out winning 2nd in public speaking competitions in their youth
Those who won first were usually devoid of original ideas and won by singing praises and kissing the ass of the current status quo in Rome
They quickly went into obscurity and were forgotten in the annals of history
Those who won second were brilliant speakers who couldn’t be ignored but yet their original ideas frightened the competition judges so they were awarded runner up rather than the big prize
My uncle’s words did cheer me up
but what I remember most about the competition was the event’s guest adult speaker
an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada
who chose as his topic Cervantes’ Don Quixote
The minister mentioned that in writing Don Quixote,
Cervantes’ purpose was to mock ideas of knightly chivalry
That chivalry was an idea from long ago
only kept alive in novels
and those who tried to live by such ideas were foolish
and ended up being made fools of like Don Quixote
But the minister said that in reading Don Quixote himself,
Cervantes’ work had the opposite effect on him than the author intended
That Don Quixote was a fool, yes
but a fool in the sense that Christ was a fool
fighting for ideas that were worth fighting for
That Don Quixote suffered and was mocked
but then so Christ suffered and was mocked
that there are causes worth suffering for and being mocked for
Quixote had taken a loose woman and imagined her a lady Dulcinea del Toboso
Christ took a woman out of whom He had cast 7 devils and made her a lady Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene went from sinner to saint because Christ truly saw who she was and what she could become
And Mary became that because she was transformed by this image that Christ had for her
In the musical Man of La Mancha the loose woman that Quixote imagined a lady Dulcinea del Toboso
although cynical and scornful at first
slowly turns into that lady
because Quixote’s love for her is more noble and pure than any she has ever known
By the end of the musical,
she too wishes “to dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go…
To reach the unreachable star.”

And the last stanza of Don Quixote’s Impossible Dream,
“And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.”

That man in the last stanza, the United Church minister concluded in his talk, was Christ.
He dreamed the impossible dream- that God could become truly human and would know the suffering and toil and pain it is to be human.
He bore with unbearable sorrow, betrayed by a friend, denied by a friend, abandoned by friends, a Crown of Thorns, beatings and mockery and a Cross unto death.
He went where the brave dared not go
The place that was foreordained for His death – in His case the city of Jerusalem (“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” -Luke 9:51).
He fought the unbeatable foe- Death- and beat him.
He reached the unreachable star- He restored fallen man -who was trapped in a Hell of his own making- to Paradise.

-A personal narrative poem
written by Christopher
Monday July 20th
2015.

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Haiku About Don Quixote

August 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , )

Haiku About Don Quixote

Old Don Quixote
battling windmills in an age
twilight night of knights

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