“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
-Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)
I just read this quote and thought immediately of Richard Armitage in “North and South.” Even though watching a video isn’t a personal encounter, I was deeply affected by his performance.
Sometimes you don’t notice when your fire has gone out. When you’re focused on the demands of daily life, the practical matter of putting one foot in front of the other, paying this bill, working at that job, dealing with the other thing that’s become a pebble in your shoe, it’s easy to forget the fierce joy that comes from looking up and suddenly seeing how much more life can be.
Like many others who count themselves his fans, I’m not normally given to fandom. The whole experience came as a shock to me–watching and re-watching the North and South DVD, then searching out more of his performances, and then (incredibly) writing fan-fiction featuring one of the characters he portrays.
Why him? I don’t know. Maybe somehow when he played John Thornton, he felt that same spark burst to life inside himself, and in some invisible, mystical way that fire made its way to the screen. And then he learned to make that happen again and again.
But whatever it was and is, I’m thankful for the creative fire he’s kindled in me. It’s been a wonderful, heart-gladdening experience so far.