”And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
I do not know who I will be. Granted, many people don’t, but that not knowing is what defines me. From someone who values knowledge above few other things, the essential uncertainty of my future is at once terrifying, tantalizing, and thrilling. There is no way to glean any facts or certainties - I am Magellan and time is my Pacific. But I also am always connected to the past like a fish to water. Tales of great thinkers, great conquerors, great achievers and great epics stretching back through the millennia. I live my life in the past, nose always buried in some tome or, less commonly, Wikipedia article about who knows what. I delight in learning about 13th century Balkan geopolitics. I relish reading about court intrigues of the late Qing era. My daydreams take me to Constantinople, Waterloo, Painpat, Lepanto, and a million others. I need that connection; it sustains me and inspires me to one day take part in one of these stories. That is what compels me at my core, the great hissing boiler in the bowels of the SS Max Troiano.
I am both blessed and cursed with knowledge. There are great stories that define us all whether we know it or not. A lost soul and would-be adventurer drifting his way into making an unforgettable impact on the lives of hundreds of boys, or a stuttering, shy second son thrust into the spotlight who led his people through their darkest hour, a rags-to-riches millionaire who used his wealth to help others out of poverty, or a mild-mannered ordinary clergyman standing uncowed against a titan of evil and hate. The sword, however, is double-edged. It is my privilege to learn and remember these stories and thousands like them all across history, but it is my duty to remember those stories which sicken the stomach and darken the horizon. I do not enjoy learning about the Holocaust or the Yugoslav Wars or the Siege of Leningrad - anyone who does is either psychotic or naive - but I know that I must. It is my duty not to forget, it is my duty to carry these stories with me always, and it is my duty to learn. I cannot stand by while another of these stories unfolds, as it is right now.
I am many things. I believe many things. I hope to do many things. But one thing stands head and shoulders above the rest.
I do not want to be forgotten.