Monday, November 29, 2010
The origin, the popular origin of this phrase comes from the Bible, specifically the book of Jeremiah 13.23. It asks if one can be different from that which he has drawn himself accustomed to being. And yet, the question lives: do the spots define the leopard? He is known by them, surely, and yet they are only skin deep. How deep is the heart? How deep is the soul? In a rush to judgement, we look at a person by the image most portrayed by the loudest of his detractors and determine his very nature by the mistakes in which he has tripped and stumbled to this place by which he now stands. The saint in this century is one who has the greatest publicist, not the greatest moral and ethical code. The villian is the moment, the easy mark, the simplest fool too slow to understand when to point and run. So, if I am so bold, let me paraphrase - and in the act of paraphrasing, forgive the butchering of a great man's iconic speach - I pray that one day men will be known by the heart that beats, the soul that shines and the mind that moves, not the hand, not the mouth, and surely not the feet that stumble. If I may dream, let it be that the spirit may exceed the flesh and rise up to lead the man to great things.