This short clip is snippets of scenes from the movie Troy, 2004. During this time a man would fight for glory and honor and the hope that he would be remembered, that his name would be spoken. That “they will write stories of your victories for thousands of years”.
It’s a lot to hope for, a lot to work towards, yet I think as men we still have that same desire in our hearts, that our legacy be one that speaks highly of who we were while we walked on this earth.
Yet much has changed since ancient Greece was the center of civilization. We are a lot less likely to consider our inevitable demise and how we will be remembered. An exercise I have participated in is the writing of one’s own eulogy. From the perspective of an offspring or a friend, what would you want them to say at your funeral? Hugely humbling writing exercise! And then of course the important follow-up – What do I need to do now so that what is said is true and pleasing to me?
I think that as men living in the 21st century, living well beyond our natural life expectancy due to the advent of pharmaceuticals and medical procedures, we are able to avoid looking into the reality of death and pretend it does not exist.
Yet one of the major lessons of male initiation, a tradition all but forgotten in our modern times, is the powerful reality taught to all young boys as they step into adulthood is – You are going to Die. With this truth, all the rest of life and living takes on a new perspective, and risk, challenges and struggles can be faced with vital courage.
I’ve lost four men in my life over the past two years and how each accepted their mortality was an important lesson to me. What do I control in both living a good life and leaving a good legacy, so that when my name is remembered it will be with smiles and honor?