Here be Dragons...

I thought this was an appropriate subject to kick off 2012.

During one end-of-year gathering with friends, somebody mentioned Saint George had been removed from the Catholic Sanctoral, and that started out a heated debate. I’ve been checking references on the issue, but there doesn’t seem to be anything online, so I guess it was a false alarm (if someone has additional information about this, please let me know).

Anyway, as most people who know me are aware of, I don’t consider myself Catholic (I embraced agnosticism years ago), however I still believe symbols carry the power we confer unto them and one of my Catholic upbringing favorite vestiges is Saint George (along with Saint Judas, for completely different reasons).

I love the imagery of the saint valiantly slaying the dragon, because I believe it’s a great allegory of how we should overtake the challenges in our lives.

We constantly face tasks, problems, sorrows, fears and whatnot that sometimes seem too big, and we somehow manage to pull through. But I believe the most valuable learning doesn’t come from challenges thrown at us, but from the ones we actually choose to face.

Sometimes we arrive at crossroads in our path when we can decide to follow the easy way out, maintain the status-quo, remain in our comfort zone, and maybe miss some opportunities; or we can face the “dragons” blocking the way to new experiences.

I often find myself choosing the later without thinking every detail through. I’m a fool lured by the treasures beyond, and that makes me charge in without fully sizing up the difficulties first. Fortunately I usually prepare myself for possible eventualities beforehand, and have good improvisational skills. I’ve also always believed that trying to bite off more than you can chew is a great learning experience.

My older son has just decided he won’t participate in a poem declamation contest at school. It proved to be too stressful and did not really appeal to him. On the other hand, two weeks ago he was genuinely afraid he couldn’t ski, and an hour later he was zipping down the hill past me (I was the one rolling down… first time at the slopes for all of us, you see). He’s learning to choose which dragons to face and actually goes through with it, which makes me really proud of him. It seems we are doing something right with the kids, after all.

That’s why I believe this was a great subject to begin the year. I’ve decided the best way to face this 2012 is with a calculated gung-ho attitude. Always take the path you think is best for you, put aside your concerns and fears, and don’t worry too much about the dragons. You’ll probably find out you can defeat most of them.

Happy New Year!


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