The high-octane push and shove that has punctuated the Korean Peninsula for the better part of this year, has reminded me of General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur was not a military jughead. Rather, he was a juggernaut both in the First World War and the Second World War. Perhaps MacArthur is best remembered for the famous quote he made on his homecoming celebrations in 1951: “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”
As the Korea War raged, the tough, rough military general made a proposal that the President of the US, Harry Truman, thought was far-fetched. The general requested for permission to bomb the Communist China for propping up the Communist North Korea and at the same time engage the Taiwanese in attacking the People’s Republic of China’s army. His insistence and a public spat with Truman was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Interestingly MacArthur has a lookalike in Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis is a household name manufactured in Hollywood. He is probably well known for the role he played in an ensemble film Expendables 2, where he teams with who-is-who in Hollywood: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Dame and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Many agree that Bruce Willis and General MacArthur resemble at every wit. However, one has perfected imaginary military prowess in theatres of Hollywood while the other had perforated real hearts of enemies in Philippines and Korea.
Zucchini and Pumpkin
I recently visited a small farm where intercropping is practised. It looked like a small paradise: It was indeed a paragon. As I approached from far, I noticed a plant with leaves that are similar to pumpkins’. I have devoured pumpkins, their seeds and leaves with glee since I learnt how to chew and spit. Thus the site of its leaves brings back fond childhood memories. As such, I had to exclaim, ‘a pumpkin.’ My companion laughed hysterically as it dawned on me that it was zucchini. Zucchini and pumpkin are distinctively similar but not the same. It is quite humbling to know that at times we can make wrong judgments. We have plants that are similar, animals that resemble and humans that lookalike. The genius observed in the orderliness of living things point to an Intelligent Designer.
Unique at the core
Jeremiah is regarded by Bible scholars as one of the Four Major Prophets of the Bible. The other three are Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. They are referred to as Major Prophets not because they were greater than the other twelve but because their books are longer and their content broad and of global implications.
Jeremiah was born at a time of religious and political upheaval. He travelled as he travailed to dissuade his comrades from wicked ways to no avail. Perennial degeneracy and a lack of regeneration made Jeremiah ceaselessly sad and mournful. This gave birth to the label, ‘The Weeping Prophet’. These seemingly unpalatable events in Jeremiah’s life do not water down the fact that he was a great Prophet, appointed and anointed by Yahweh while still in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He pursued a well-defined assignment. He never tried to live someone else life. He never tried to ape anyone. He never struggled to imitate his contemporaries – Zephaniah, Obadiah, Huldah. He never became a carbon copy of his predecessor – Hosea. He did not waste his time trying to deconstruct himself, for he already knew the kind of material he was made of and the music he had to dance to. He stuck to the rhythm in sways and swagger.
That is how we ought to live our lives. We do not have to look like somebody else. We do not have to emulate their lifestyles and trades. We have the propensity to mimic someone important, and in the process, we forget we are a masterpiece, snowflake and cornflake. The purpose you have to fulfil in this earth is cut out. You have to find it out and execute it. Joshua never tried to be Moses. Ruth never tried to be Orpah. David refused to take on Saul’s attire as he went to confront Goliath. Paul never tried to preach like Peter.
John Mason has said that imitation is limitation. The authenticity you are crafted to display cannot be matched by any other person. You are exceptionally gifted and this will always come out if you go back to the Rock you were hewn from.
We can learn from those who went before us, take up an apprenticeship, become protégés and mentees (in fact it is highly recommended), but we should not forget to be distinctively similar.