There’s this great classic Laurel and Hardy movie called, “Blockheads”. The movie begins during World War One (WW2 had not occurred yet as this movie was made in 1937) and Stan Laurel has been given the charge of guarding the fort as the rest of the platoon head out to battle to fight the unknown enemy.
The battle is won (or lost, I can’t remember), the war ends and everyone goes home. There is great celebration in the streets. Everyone begins to move on with their lives, get jobs, get married, and the camera fades out.
The camera fades back in. It’s twenty years later. And there is Stan Laurel, still pacing up and down in front of the fort, so much so, that’s he’s actually worn a trench so deep into the ground that we can only see his bayonet sticking above the surface, bouncing back and forth.
“Great. Sounds rip-roaring hilarious. I’ll go rent it right away. So why are you sharing this lovely bit of cinematic history?”
Well, imagine that you have your very own loyal and devoted Stan Laurel inside you. (I know, perhaps not the most comforting thought. But stay with me) And you have placed him in charge of protecting and guarding a vulnerable part of yourself while the rest of you goes out into the world. He knows his job and he’s committed to keeping you safe.
Time passes, you grow, you change, your life goes in new and exciting directions.
Now you’re grown, and that old “battle” is long over. That threat that was once there is no longer. And yet, Your “Stan” remains faithful to his post, pacing back and forth, ever alert, ready to defend against any “would be” attackers, for the next ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years of your life.
Sounds to me like one of my many old habits—ones that, while they might have served a purpose at some point in my life, aren’t serving me any more. I wonder, how many of my own “Stans” are still remaining loyal to their post, ever alert to protect me at the slighted sense of threat, and they’re not really needed any more? There’s nothing behind those fortress walls any more. And perhaps it is finally time for me to journey back to that old fort and relieve “Stan” from his duties.
At least let him change his socks.