slaves and cowards
“The slaves had options: escape, rebel, die.
Cowards only have consequences.”
Franklin, from the Broadway musical, “Passing Strange.”
July 1st found us sitting in a theater in New York City, celebrating our first wedding anniversary by going to see a Broadway musical. Now, expect great entertainment in the city that never sleeps, and we’ve got it! What he didn’t expect, however, was to walk out of the theater with his jaw dropping from some of the most profound statements he had ever heard.
The quote mentioned above? Only Dylan and Springsteen have ever written lyrics that strike such an inner chord with me.
Quick Summary: Stew is an aspiring teen rock star who grew up in South Central Los Angeles in the ’70s. During a marijuana-induced conversation with his youth minister, Franklin, Stew reveals his dream of moving to Europe and become a rock star. Franklin has followed in his father’s ministerial footsteps and, until his rap session in the front seat of a VW Beetle, he has never confessed how much he regrets he didn’t live up to his own dreams.
Franklin encourages Stew to follow his heart. Later, he painfully admits that he is trapped in a life designed by his father. It is worse than slavery, he insists, because his entire existence is the product of fear. “Slaves have options: escape, rebel, die. But cowards, cowards only have consequences.”
Man, powerful stuff.
Is there anything worse than slavery? A quick answer is “of course not!” But think about it one step further and you might find a different answer. Fear.
Being enslaved by your own choices, or rather your inability to make a decision… that’s called cowardice. And as Franklin so profoundly pointed out: cowards only have consequences.
We all have options. Even choosing not to choose is a choice. And we know that all choices have consequences. But when we allow fear to make our decisions, it’s the same as saying, “I’ll take what life gives me.” Sorry, that’s not good enough for me.
Making big decisions is scary, no doubt about it. Anyone who has faced a life-changing decision knows that it can seem easier to just walk away. But not making a choice for what you believe, for what your heart tells you, well that means fear makes the choice for you. And then what is left? Due.
Sound like you’re promoting the control craze? Maybe if I am! Because, well, I AM a control freak when it comes to my life. Penalty fee. I admitted it. I don’t want to give up input and influence over the only life I have. You? Would anyone?
If we avoid things that are intimidating, we are allowing fear to choose, and that means we get the consequences of fear. No empowerment, no chance, no adventure, no chance… just consequences.
Thank you Franklin, for an important reminder of one of the things that makes life a gift. Enjoy yours.