Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Xerxes

Xerxes was the king of Persia back in the early 4th century B.C. He got it into his head to invade Greece. Actually, his dead father had left him the task of punishing the Greeks for being silly enough to believe that they should fight against him for their country. For a while, Xerxes's troops, reportedly hundreds of thousands strong, managed to win every battle.

Then, at the Battle of Thermopylae, a small band of Spartans (less than 7000 strong) resisted the much larger Persian forces. For three days they held off the Persian army on the road leading to Athens. Ultimately the Spartans were defeated, but not before they threw a largish monkey wrench into Xerxes's machinations.

The Persians finally broke the Spartan stronghold after a Grecian by the name of Ephialtes betrayed his country and told the Persians of another pass around the mountains. However, the delay caused by the Spartans allowed Athens to be evacuated.

It's been said that Xerxes, so infuriated to arrive in Athens only to find it deserted, had the city burned. That's a matter of controversy, and it's possible that the Greeks burned it after evacuation as part of a scorched-earth operation. It makes no difference, as either way, Xerxes didn't get what he wanted.

While the Spartans may have been defeated, in my book they won. They could have stood on that road and said, "Oh shit! Look at all those Persians! No way..." and laid down their weapons. But they didn't. They stood and fought for what they believed in. Against all odds they fought. They were the underdogs and they knew it, but, regardless, they fought.

So often in life we view the seemingly insurmountable and we give up without a fight. We see the big dogs coming for us, and rather than standing our ground, we walk away.

We have more power than we think.

Most of our power is in our ability to simply stand and say, "I'm here and you will see me."

Battles aren't won by getting what we want. Battles are won in being who we are.

5 comments:

  1. Yay for not taking the easy way out and doing Xray! HAHAHA!

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  2. I like to make things difficult for myself!

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  3. My history book might have actually been opened if there were such interesting art in it to lure me.

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  4. Now that you brought tears to my eyes... I ought to tell you why. Your post resonated with me today (in particular the last 2 sentences). I had a crappy time a couple of years ago when my man was in hospital twice and frighteningly ill both times (just hours away from organ failure the second time). He's fine now. (figured I should add that before continuing) But at the time it was scary, exhausting (sitting by a hospital bed for 8-9 hours a day for a couple of weeks isn't as easy as it sounds), and irritating. Yeah ...you read that right. I was cross. It was damned inconsiderate of him to get that sick. (As soon as he was home and better, I told him so, too.) All our friends asked constantly how he was doing (naturally so). I'd get home each day, totally wiped out, and write a Facebook notes (they're all still there!) to keep people updated. Only one friend ever asked, "how are *you* doing?" At which point I promptly burst into tears. I was "suffering and invisible." I had the power (but didn't use it) to say, "I am here, and you *will* see me!" (Do you see me now?) I was in need of emotional support, but I wouldn't have known what that looked like if I'd got it (I do now). But I was pretending to be that Rock of Gibraltar (for Jon and for the world???). Inside, however, I was scared, toddler-tired, grumpy, and at tether's end. Next time (goddess forbid) I'm going to be me... and come through a little less battle scarred. Thanks for reminding me, Barb! xoxo

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  5. And thousands of years later, they made an awesome movie demonstrating the power and ethic of the Spartans. I agree whole heartily on what you've said.

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