Friday, February 11, 2011
Let me preface this by saying this statement only will make sense to those in the SCA.

This post has been rumbling around my head again ever since Brian Cole messaged me at 1:30am several days ago and said "You amaze me."

While I am still very grateful for the compliment I will, always, to some degree question the worthiness of the recipient.

It is often said throughout the years: to thy own self be true.

I am a flawed man, quirky, overly questioning, overbearing, stubborn, callous, skeptical to a fault on many things, and victim of my heart. However, our failings can be used proactively with positive outcomes, like any tool how we use it determines whether or not one is evil or good.

I am also a good man, loyal, determined, patient (more so as I get older), caring, and nurturing. When I look at the good and bad traits I see two side of the same coin.  So what does that make me, human I guess, a person that feels at least, a man.

My faith in many things has been bruised and left in doubt but as my father would say, "the sun will rise tomorrow whether you like it or not."  So I persevere because of an old motto of my Scottish clan: Lindsey, which is "Endure Forte."

My fighting style was centered around this and all my tastes in literature, history, and so many things have been centered around two simple, yet powerful words: endure forte. In Norse mythology it is dark about the end times of Ragnarök, and the Battle of Thermopile where 300 Spartans (yes and there roughly 1,000 other fellow Greeks) stood against insurmountable odds.  These stories made me realize I cannot agree with Machiavelli in that "the ends do not justify the means." I read "The Prince" and there is wisdom in it but gather from it the wisdom you value and re-read it in a few years and see if you value the same things. 

I believe strongly that "white leather" means first that I must serve as the wall, that I will defend against all assaults and those behind me can move freely because I stand here against the storm. This thought leads to service and the words of Leo Tolstoy and Jack London:

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."  --Leo Tolstoy

"He who serves all best serves himself."  --Jack London

When the water crashes against the stone and breaks it does wear it down over the years but when the people come and reinforced the stone the cycle is renewed. When Tolstoy talks about changing the world I think of every boy's dream about being a knight to save the land, but not what to do the day after that. Then I think of London's words and find that knights have become cops and firefighters they continue to save the day each day and by serving those around them they become reinforced because the whole gets stronger through their efforts.

Others will mention that all the stone cannot be attended to at the same time surely some must fall.  I would agree but remember Thermopile, remember the Alamo, ethics and morality are what you do when no one is looking. They could not see the future and yet stood their ground to make a way for that future to come, they served without regard for their well being because they saw what the SCA strives to see everyday.

the Dream...
... of what should be, not what was or often is.

I see "white leather" as perfect imperfection, when a broken soul can find reparations to itself through service to a goal bigger than they are yet like a unique, perfectly imperfect snowflake fall with the power of an avalanche of change when they unite in community of action.

Sister Joan Chittister of the Order of Saint Benedict said it best about the church, and I find this to be true of any institution that becomes successful and sustaining.
  "The church is a human institution, and it is slow.  It's also a universal institution.  It takes a long time for ideas to seep to the top, let alone to move the bottom.  So you just realize that what is going on right now is simply the seeding of the question.  It comes down to how many snowflakes does it take to break a branch?  I don't know, but I want to be there to do my part if I'm a snowflake."

Each bearer of "white leather" and the peerage as a whole is one of these snowflakes, and with the inspiration they can muster all of us become perfectly imperfect, unique, and special.

I can't wait to see what we can do when such a community moves together.

Slava Atenveldta,

Lord Iosif Volchkov, Squire to his excellency Viscount Sir Jerry the Inverter of Kilkenny
House Inverted
Barony of Atenveldt
Kingdom of Atenveldt



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