I'll never forget how horrified I was when I first heard my history professor, Mr. Trussell, quite nonchulantly refer to Sir Walter Raleigh as a pirate.
I grew up in Virginia. I have always loved history and spent a good portion of my childhood visiting all those wonderful museums that celebrated Virginia history. I remember peering through the glass cases at the old clothes and relics. Sir Walter Raleigh was a celebrated explorer. Never once did I see or hear the term "pirate" associated with his good name...
Until one Texas professor laid it all out. He explained his position once I confronted him after class. If I remember correctly, I think he was a bit amused with my reaction as well.
At any rate, Mr. Trussell explained that I had put Mr. Raleigh up on a pedestal and in doing so, had neglected to see some things. He went on to say this is not an uncommon practice -- for individuals such as myself to fail to realize that individuals like Sir Walter Raleigh are human just like the rest of us and indeed may possess character flaws and bad judgement.
Wow! Denial perhaps?
I guess we all see what we want to see. Then one day, it slaps us right in the face and there's no escape. No denial. Just piracy.
Yesterday, I discovered another pirate in someone I had believed had the utmost integrity. Tears slipped down my face as I silently cried.
Funny thing, I'm not sure if I was crying for them or for me.