Seeing Things As They Ought To Be
by Rev. Robert J. Hermley
Stories for Life Index
The story of Don Quixote is a very inspirational one, and there is no doubt that it could make a very wonderful meditation. The hero, Don Quixote, is always trying to bring justice into the world, to right all wrongs and to introduce truth to all the people. He follows a Knightly Code that impels him to be gentle, strong and truthful whatever the circumstances. He intends to redress all grievances and to restore justice to an indifferent world.
To do this, he dresses like a Knight-errant sets out on his mission to bring chivalry back to an uncaring world.
Perhaps the central theme throughout the story is the Quixote wants everyone to see things as they ought to be, rather than as they actually are.
To him Aldonza, the maid, becomes Dulcinea, a lady, and the other serving girls become highborn maidens. Windmills become giants to be conquered and the inn becomes a castle. The inn-keeper becomes a kind of fellow Knight to be highly respected. Everything and everyone is seen by Don Quixote as it ought to be or could be.
At first, everyone pokes fun at him or humors him, but slowly one by one they see a great wisdom in his vision and begin to take note of the Knight-errant and of his mission.
Slowly and ever so quietly, the participants become what the hero wishes them to be. Aldonza, indeed, becomes a lady and Sancho becomes his squire. Even the incredulous inn keeper knights Quixote in a midnight service. Aldonza and Sancho, at least, begin to believe in his impossible dream.
There is much more to the story, and even to this day there are many who are in awe of the genius of this tale by Cervantes. Here in this short meditation, however, I wish to center only upon the idea of our hero to see things as they ought to be rather than as they actually re.
Quixote's idea, in a way, was also shared by the sculptor Michelangelo, who often said that in every lock of marble there was a magnificent statue waiting to be liberated. Michelangelo saw the statue in his mind long before he ever began to chisel away and free the work of art that he had conceived. He too saw things as they ought to be and he set out to make them so.
It has recently occurred to me, however, that Cervantes and Michelangelo were not the first ones to originate such a wonderful task. Centuries before, Christ came into the world as its Savior and saw the universe as it was, and began the magnificent task of changing it into what it truly ought to be. He found some ordinary fishermen, but saw in the Apostles; He looked at Peter and saw a Pope. He met Magdalene and saw in her, not a woman of the streets, but a lady - and what a lady she became! He saw Nicodemus, not as a sinner, but as one who could become a magnanimous man. He saw every sinner as a potential saint. He pictured the young man who wanted to be perfect as one who could sell all he possessed to follow him. He saw in a lowly virgin a most beautiful masterpiece to give to the world as His mother and their mother. He saw in the woman at the well someone who could change her life. He taught all whom He met how to become perfect, how to change from what they were into a masterpiece of what could be. He accepted people as they were, but made it clear that to be His followers they must repent, change, take up His Cross and follow.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to know the thoughts of Christ as He looks at each one of us? If we let Him have His way with us what could we become? He truly never asks of us more than we can bear. What would He make us into if we let Him have His way?
In this mixed up world of today, let us ask God to mold us into a masterpiece, into a monument of service to Him which will say to the world, "Perhaps I could not bring about great changes in the entire world, but I did make at least a small difference in my own area of life."