We enjoyed a great Autumn at Camp Weequahic this year. Over 150 returning camp families showed up to enjoy a ‘socially distanced’ day at camp with a lot of friends. We also had a blast showing Weequahic off to many potential campers and parents as well. It was even instructive for me as I learned how to find your arch-enemy.
On of those tours had 9-year-old boy who shared my love of comics. At one point in our conversation he asked me, ‘Cole, who is your arch-enemy?’
My first thought was ‘wow, I’ve never been asked that.’
After I thought through a couple of possibilities – my younger brother, the director at Camp Westmont, and a few others I settled on one that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is my arch-enemy. (And, no, it’s not Ross – I love that guy!)
What is an ‘Arch-Enemy?’
Fiction is really good at setting up heroes with an arch-enemy. Sherlock often foiled Moriarty. Darth Vader plagued Luke Skywalker. Harry Potter battled Lord Voldemort over and over.
It even happens in real life: Aaron Burr hounded and then killed Alexander Hamilton. Every NFL fan (save those living in and around Boston) despises Coach Belichick. SEC fans feel the same about his college-image in Nick Saban.
Heroes and arch-enemies are linked. In most cases, one fights for good while the other for evil. Always at cross purposes, they rage away at one another, even when they do not ‘share the stage’ so to speak.
However, when you look closely, all of these pairs share a number of similarities. Sherlock and Moriarty were the cleverest men of their age. Luke and Vader, both disciples of and empowered by the force, are actually – gasp – son and father.) Harry and Voldermort are powerful magicians, linked by a ‘soul-bond’ of magical origination. The coaches love the game of football as much if not more than the fans of opposing teams.
An arch-enemy is defined as ‘a person who is extremely hostile or opposed to someone or something.’ This certainly describes the pairs listed above. But, it also describes an even more important and powerful arch-enemy for each hero.
Your Most Powerful Arch-Enemy is…
So, I left you hanging in the intro, didn’t I? How do you find your arch-enemy? After I thought about it for about two seconds, I answered:
I hear you saying ‘No way, Cole! It’s got to be someone else.’ It’s not, though. All I have to do is look in the mirror.
Of course, this is not always true. However, I can’t count the times in my life when I’ve told myself ‘you can’t’ or ‘you shouldn’t’ or ‘they’ll laugh’ or ‘no, seriously, that fifth and sixth cookie will make you feel better.’
Does that ring true for you, too?
There are two scenes in Star Wars that illustrate this point perfectly. During their ‘becoming’, both Luke and Rey battle a foe in a secret place. Vader charges out of the darkness, light saber ready to attack Luke. An unknown assailant approaches Rey with a lightsaber bo staff. Luke wins a short battle but, in looking at his fallen foe, the face underneath Vader’s mask is Luke’s own. Rey realizes she’s fighting herself as well.
How About You?
Campers, odds are your arch-enemy is yourself. AND THAT’S OK! It’s actually more important to realize that fact than just about anything else. When you become aware of the situation, you can step back, observe what you are ‘hearing’ in your head and decide whether or not to follow the message.
Whether it is battling the fear of doing the right thing, putting in the extra effort when no one is looking, or overcoming some self-set limits, you’ll have to battle yourself a good bit. This won’t change through your years. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can become aware of the fight and make your ‘enemy’ smaller and weaker over time.
Just make sure to treat your enemy – yourself – kindly. Believe it or not, ‘they’ are just trying to do what they think is right. You, though, get to decide whether or not to listen.