Daily Prompt: Enthusiasm
“Enthusiasm, my dear, is your most beautiful asset,” he assured her. “Don’t ever let a greying world dull what still shines.”
Yet a thick grey fog did linger a long while, dimming whatever light still dared to shine through it.
So they adapted to that toxic haze. It became a grotesque sort of mask, disguising all that was once lovely and brought delight.
All those that braved the newfound tainted town wore a mask of similar toxic origin. Why wear it, though?
Adaptation. Acclimation. Assimilation. “Preservation,” they said.
Things grew more deplorable than anyone cared to admit.
Fortunate for them, the thick haze limited visibility. God forbid one should catch a glimpse of his own ghastly sight!
So the town spiraled in its fits of dysfunction, spawning from all that external darkness. Depression flourished amidst desperation.
Enthusiasm still thrived in the brightest corners of town. There were some lights that never went out… or so they’d heard from a drunk outsider, overwhelmed in their usual dimly lit, crowded bar.
Unable to see exactly where they were going though, most people stayed where they felt comfortable. Why there, though?
“Preservation,” they said.
Things might have been dark and mundane, but they survived. At least they didn’t have to trek into the dark unknown, searching for a rumored fairytale-land of perpetual light.
One night, though, a most memorable outsider came into the bar. He was overflowing with a palpable passion for life. His love for his family, his work, and humanity radiated through all the toxic, smoky, darkness. He spoke to a few locals, hardened by the darkness they’d endured.
Some rolled their eyes and mocked his happiness — out of envy, perhaps. A couple friends engaged more genuinely. The group shared an honest dialogue about the trials and tribulations of being human.
“Look,” he said. “You have to remember… you’re not nearly as unique as you imagine. You’re not half as good or half as bad as you believe. You are merely a human being sharing human experiences with other fellow humans. You’re only here for but a brief while. Your enviornment can change you, or you can change it. For better, or for worse. The way I see it, you have two choices… Be a lotus flower. Or be a weed.”
“The lotus is one of nature’s most stunning flowers. And the most beautiful of its kind grows out of the deepest, most vile, inhospitable pits of mud. Out of that darkness, it perseveres into a most radiant, coveted bloom.”
“Weeds too can grow in austere conditions. They might grow so mighty that they overshadow all the most beautiful plants in the garden. Being a weed, one might dominate one’s environment and think it’s won. But no one, not ever, has taken pride in a garden full of even the mightiest and prettiest of weeds.”
“The trick is to maintain enthusiasm, even in times of darkness. You don’t win by overcoming others. You win by overcoming darkness. You win when you can appreciate the beauty of others around you instead of crushing the light they emit, just to establish dominance. You win when you can create light in yourself and extract it out of others, especially in times of great darkness.”
The next morning, the fog had lifted, but the girl had already vowed never to return to those dimly lit spaces she once felt most comfortable.
She would make the uncertain journey onward, searching for that light that never went out.
“How interesting,” she thought. “I suppose even the enthusiasm of a sober outsider in a smoky ol’ bar can be quite contagious.”