There is a military term that you might be familiar with. It is “tip of the spear”. This term is used by military tacticians and historians to refer to a combat force that is used to puncture the enemy’s initial lines of defense, to be quickly followed by concentrated forces which destroy any remaining threat.
There is also a Coldplay song that I like very much called Army of One.
“Say my heart is my gun, army of one
Yeah my heart is my gun, army of one
Is my only weapon, army of one
Say my heart is my gun, army of one.”
These two thoughts merged and danced with each other in my dreams last night, as thoughts tend to do lately, and I woke up needing to write about them.
We are facing a Medusa of an enemy in our country and our world today. The coronavirus has no respect for race, color, creed, sexual orientation or geopolitical boundaries. Racism itself is another writhing snake that would bite us if we place our hand too close to its venomous mouth. Economic crisis, always a single paycheck away for some, threatens to turn us out of our homes, strip us of our jobs and leave us destitute and staggering. Some in power think that if we dare to look upon this triple threat of disease and hate and poverty that we shall surely be turned to stone and stand as still as the very statues that some strive to tear down. Powerless, impotent, beaten. So they look away. They ignore. They fabricate new myths that serve their own nefarious purposes.
You and I, my friends, are the tip of the sphere. We are the soldiers in this ravaged world who can go in fast and light, puncturing the Dickensian twins of Ignorance and Want, making the smallest hole, ripping the fabric of greed and power and reaching out to those who need us most right now.
“So I’ll never say die, I’m never untrue
I’m never so high as when I’m with you
And there isn’t a fire, that I wouldn’t walk through
My army of one is going to fight for you.”
I know that I will never singlehandedly cure this terrible disease. I leave that for the Anthony Faucis of the world who know how to do that kind of thing. I know that I will never singlehandedly be able to erase the pain and suffering that slavery and racism caused those long years ago in the South, my home and the land I love. I leave that to MLK and John Lewis and C. T. Vivian, who knew how to do that kind of thing. I know that I cannot singlehandedly, fundamentally change a broken economic system that favors the rich and keeps its knee on the neck of the perpetually poor. I leave that to the bedrock that the Founding Fathers put under us to hold us up at times like these, aided by the wisdom of those who know economics on a scale much larger than my monthly budget.
I know that I cannot change the world alone, but I can be an army of one, with my heart as my gun. I can be in the phalanx that is the tip of the sphere, the force that will change this world in millions of tiny ways, day in and day out. I can be the one that figures out how to look upon this Gorgon that would utterly defeat us.
For you see, Medusa was the only one of the three Gorgons who was mortal, and therefore could be killed. Perseus used a shiny shield that had been given to him by Athena and looked at the monster safely, reflected in his shield. In so doing, he was able to slay the killer without dying himself in the process. We do not have to destroy ourselves and tear down our society to make this world a better place, as some would have us believe. We have only to do as Mother Teresa admonished, “small things with great love”.
“Been around the world, universe too
I’ve been around flying, baby, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do
Dance with the stars, while I see the moon
I’ll be standing there besides you
Right when the storm comes through.”
Be the tip of the sphere today, my friends.
Change the world.