I have to admit that I didn’t take this photo as I am in the Santa Claus suit. Here in China, Santa is called Father Christmas. I did some “rescue” work with the photo with Photoshop in order to achieve this effect. The intense use of “red” was purposeful as I wanted the photo to have a slightly surrealistic tone, one that would be more archetypal.
This is a role, playing Santa, that I rarely take. I much prefer sitting on the sidelines. I don’t know if you are aware, but I am more of an introvert than extrovert. When the request came, with a visit to my home by the head of the Foreign Affairs Office, I knew I had to accept for myself, not because of any other reason. This was a moment for me to “suck up” my discomfort and do something that had value for others. In the big, picture, this isn’t such a big thing. Yet for me, it was a significant step outside of my comfort zone.
“The hero’s task is inescapable. It is renewed every day, perhaps every moment. None of us is up to heroic choice and action all the time, or perhaps even most of the time. But we each have an appointment with ourselves, though most of us never show up for it. Showing up, and dealing with whatever must be faced in chasms of fear and self-doubt, that is the hero task.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 62)
This is significant. The struggle to be authentic is a heroic task. But the task is not one where one must be a Hercules or Solomon or some buff, magnificent specimen of a human. The task is found in the small things, the continual flow of tiny choices. Making choices rather than letting them slip away is hard, enough. Making choices and accepting the results of those choices, the responsibility for those choices is even more difficult.