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STOIC POETRY | Safety is never free

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

September 24, 2019

Dear Eric,

You clearly cherished something above your own well-being, which you decided to forgo in favor of better living - even if that better living meant your own death.

I'd suffer alone under a bridge With nowhere to go No home to call my own No way back If I knew... That bridge was the right place to be

I go to Siberia not because it is safe, or easy, or interesting or fun. I go because visiting that place - and in particular that bridge, especially alone and at night - is none of these things. I go to pay a hard premium on the best living I know: the life of challenge, and fear, and confusion; of uncertainty and disorder and chaos and the real and immediate threat of death. These valuable things come to us at the very dear cost of that which we are taught to strive for most: security, comfort, warmth, love, community, friendship and the hope of a quiet, peaceful and timely death. I want these things too - but not of their own accord. I wish them only if they can be had after the harder work of The Good Life is done; after we've rolled up our sleeves in youth - whenever youth happens to occur - laced tight the boots, pulled up the hood of our jacket and tromped out and away from home along some pathway only we can see, leaving others to gawp and gape in our wake and ask after where we are going and when we will return. Stop then, only for a moment, to turn back and fix our determined gaze into their moistening eyes. Look the timid clear and deep, and speak with honest, wavering resolve - don't hide the quivering in your own voice - and tell them you will one day be back, one day not so soon - you'll return one day with stories, and scars to show and possibly a painful limp to explain. Give them a loving smile and a loving little wave goodbye. Then, turn back and switch off the flashlight. Look for the outline ahead of empty mountains against cold and deep starlight and then start walking into the night. Step carefully, mindful of snakes, and holes and the twists and turns of this alien landscape. Walk until deep night or even until dawn maybe. Meet the new day where safety is no longer the price you must pay for the life you never wished to live.

And return one day to the people you love as the person you never dreamed you could be. Return the Stoic. Return alive. Return alone to make or rejoin your family and to endeavor now upon a new life of social virtue in pursuit of a better existence for each of us. Return to pursue The Good Life.

Virtue is also never free Sometimes, We must first cross the desert alone

My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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