Monday, November 1, 2021

Darkest Before Dawn (MY Eng #30)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup' and 'between a rock and a hard place'.

Where do we draw the line between today and tomorrow?

How do we know when's the time to call it a day and lights out?

What does the sky look like before we wake up in the morning?

As far as expressions go, this one seems rather obvious. Night. Sleep. Darkness. And yet, matter of factly as it may be, this idiom carries much profound weight, as we trudge through our everyday labours.

* * *

At some point during 'The Dark Knight', the good guys are close to breaking point. The Joker's on loose in Gotham City wrecking havoc and turning its people against each other. Batman himself is under hot pursuit and intense pressure. All hopes seem lost.

And then, the gallant white knight Harvey Dent gave a rousing defiant war-cry: "The night is darkest just before dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming"

That's how life works. The toughest part in the race is the always the final leg. When we're almost out of breath and running on empty. When our muscles cry out in pain, and our mind starts to fade away.

It's always at the final moments of truth that the best of us crumble and fall. We botch up the last 1% of our work which ruins the perfection of the first 99%. A single typo can cast what would've been a masterpiece into a mass of mediocrity.

That's why it's important to maintain our focus from start to finst - even more so when we're close to the finish line, the heavy lifting is done, and all that's left is one final push.

* * *

Sadly, things didn't turn out quite well for poor Harvey Dent at the end. Despite his best efforts and noble goals, the great White Knight himself fell short at the last hurdle, damning himself to oblivion.

Even the purest of heart can turn corrupt. Even the strongest of mind can break. Even Batman has limits.

Perhaps the wisest of words are best said by the good old butler Alfred Pennyworth: "Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up."

Yes, it's always darkest before dawn. It's always hardest to keep fighting when the battle seems lost.

But even when we fall over and over again in the darkness, just pick yourself up and keep walking. Dawn will break, the sun will rise, and success will come.

No comments :

Post a Comment