Character – or – “What are you in the dark, where no one can see?”

“Character is what you are in the dark.” 

That quote, attributed to the American evangelist Dwight L. Moody, came across my desk the other day as I was reading and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s such a part of our collective culture and consciousness that it merits its own trope (a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression)  and has been used in everything from television to comic books to literature. The usual “moral of the story” where this is involved revolves around this basic idea; anyone can do the right thing/the moral thing/the heroic thing when attention is focused on them and there’s nothing to lose, but it takes real strength of character – real heroism – to do what is right when no one is looking, and when no other person would, or even could, perhaps, know. Our world is full of people who are willing to “take a stand” when the cameras are rolling, when it means good PR, and when it means points with this or that group but it does make one wonder, at times – would they be as willing to do so in situations in which this was not true? if there was no photo-op? No news story? No points with the voters/fans/people at large?

It’s something to ponder, eh?

One of the reasons I chose the image that went with this post, today, is because I find it incredibly encouraging. That quote, (one I have never heard of) made by The Batman, illustrates the ideas presented here. Clark Kent/Superman is the same in the light, if you will, as he is in the dark. Batman is not, and he realizes it. if any one of us, like The Batman (although I know he is fictional) realize that as well, we also can change it. Whether or not The Batman ever will is up to his authors – but WE are the authors of our lives. We can change things right now – starting today. THAT is one of the truest encouragements of life. It ties in with your past not defining you, neither now nor for your future. 

I could think of any number of other things to put here to flesh out this post. Windy moralizing, great examples, long lists of those who did just this, or who we believe did, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I believe that the quote, and idea, stand for themselves and so I will close by asking you a question that I, first, have asked myself and continue to ask myself, daily.

When the time comes, who are you? What is your character? Who are you in the dark?

God bless today, my friends.