My favorite literary character of all time is Sydney Carton from Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities. Sydney is the archetypal “Ne’er do well” who resurrects his abysmal life just in time to save the day by sacrificing himself for the woman he loves. It is a classic redemptive saga that gives me a strong hope that change, real change, is feasible in my life.
Everyone has problems: some are personal, some are circumstantial and others may be physical. Some of us have issues that are deeply hidden and other have problems that are out there for everyone to see. A few of those are coyote ugly and the world judges the possessors very harshly.
The hidden concerns do not escape notice either, because we know they exist in the darkness within our souls. The secret burdens and sins people deal with day by day crush out light and life. Indeed, we often become our own jury, judge and executioner in condemning ourselves. We often accept blame for the things we cannot control. Moreover, the mere possibility our skeletons will be exposed becomes an additional burdensome weight.
So we cover up and hide, hoping to avoid disclosure as long as possible. We were never meant to live that way. Fortunately, no matter what the problem may be, there is a way out. The first part of digging out of whatever hole we are in is to find the inspiration to want something better, and that is why I look to Sydney Carton.
Stories such as A Tale of Two Cities, among many others, provide for us a glimpse of special characters that mirror our mythic self. The person we would most like to be if we had the choice. The kind of person we dream we could be, if only we could change and eliminate the pathetic dregs that contaminate our personal being. That Sydney Carton is a fictitious character is of no importance because the author has made him so real in his abject weakness. I can relate to weakness quite well, and I can share his desire to become a better man.
Subsequently, I want to share in the heroic acts that redeem his person. I find in myself the desire to change even if the road is as difficult as it was for Sydney Carton. From that point the choice is mine if I wish to pursue real change in my life, but I have certainly been shown the way out.