Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. – August Wilson (Goodread’s Daily Quote 4/27/14)
One of the many reasons I love using Goodreads is the Daily Quote. Not a day goes by that I don’t check my GR home page for the day’s inspiration or thought. The Wilson quote above stopped me in my tracks.
When my brother and I were children, my mom told us we had an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Each day, each moment was simply a question of which side would win out. Would I listen to my angel or my devil? This duality was a simple case of right and wrong, strength and weakness. It’s a tactic I’ve used often raising three sons.
But what struck me about Wilson’s quote was the internalization of those demons. They don’t just sit on our shoulders whispering in our ear; they live inside of us. From his viewpoint, it’s not enough to simply listen to right over wrong.
This is the story of Wilson’s work, his plays and essays. Yes, they are a portrait of the black experience in America, but they hold the same “everyman” appeal as his fellow playwright Arthur Miller. That is why his plays and this quote have stood the test of time.
To be our best selves, we must actively engage, battle, “wrestle” our internal demons. I think he’s right.