When I grow up, I want to be a martyr. A martyr is a good person, a brave person, and a committed person. My wife agrees with me; she too thinks I should be committed! So, that's my decision. I'm not sure what I want to be martyred for but I am sure that, in time, it will be revealed to me.
Throughout the ages, martyrs have dotted our history. They have given their lives for their faith and their beliefs. They have died by sword, by fire and by every cruel device created by man.
I salute each and every one for their tenacity, their courage and for standing true, even in the face of torture and terror.
As for me, I'd like to find another way to be a martyr. It’s not about bravery or that I shy away from pain or anything like that! Heck, I always jump in at the deep end of the pool, and I once had a headache for two hours before I took an Aspirin. No! Daring and pain are no strangers to me!
It's too bad we can't be martyred because of old age. To give up our lives for our belief in breathing or for suffering through some of today's music or for refusing to pay $10 to go to a movie!
We are tortured daily by reality television shows. I have heard so many say it: "If I have to put up with one more reality show, I'm going to shoot myself!" I don't know if shooting yourself for having to wade through reality television counts as being a martyr, but it is an interesting thought.
It would be nice to be martyred for loving too much, giving too much, or being concerned for others too much. In fact, those reasons are the direct cause of nearly all who have been martyred throughout the ages: belief in what is good; and something to live for that is great enough to die for. I would honestly be willing to die for my faith, my family, perhaps even my country. I would even give up my life for my friends - well, two of them anyway. And they said they would do it for me.
I think if any of us are to be martyred, it must be for a worthwhile cause, like putting running boards back on cars or re-introducing the one-speed bicycle. Or how about a defence for morality or respect for authority?
Being a martyr is not high on the wish list in this free world of the 21st century. People, it seems, would rather be CEOs or rock stars or sports heroes. When I was a little kid, at first I wanted to be a fire truck when I grew up. When I was told that was impossible, I settled for wanting to be a cowboy, as long as a Palomino horse came with the cap guns and hat. My friends and I played cowboys and Indians all the time. We never played martyrs. Go figure!
I guess if one could be a martyr without having to forfeit one's life, there would be more people wanting to be martyrs when they grew up. My friend Knud is over 50 and he still wants to be a cowboy when he grows up. He has a fancy rifle and a black hat. He's serious! He told me wanting to be a martyr was stupid, but if my heart was set on it, he could use his fancy rifle to help me along. He called it, "Being martyred for wanting to be a martyr." I declined. There has to be a better way!
I'm beginning to realize that martyrdom is not an easy career. My wife is dead set against it. Last Christmas, I offered to let her take the last chocolate in the box and she said, "Don't be a martyr." So, for her sake, I may give it up.
If I revert to wanting to be a cowboy, it would mean Knud would have company. In a way, that's martyrdom - giving up my goal for my wife and my friend. But still, it would have been nice to be a real martyr - to be admired and remembered and written about. I just wish I could have found a way that didn't hurt!
MAY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
MAY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND