Friday, July 09, 2004

Reflections on What Matters

I prepare now to leave again for foreign lands to fulfill a duty I long ago swore. It is often at these times that one feels as if a great transcendence between worlds occurs. Here hearth and home provide a tranquil repose from the harsh realities of the world. A man has time to reflect on what is and what ought to be. Matters of philosophical and political matters find attendance in the idle mind. The pleasures of simple things become, at times, routine and often lose their rightful significance.

In the final analysis of what is important and what is meaningful it is the things that one finds in this world, here with amoung home and friends, that have the most significant meaning. I shall not for a moment assert that there is not meaning and purpose in the place to which I go. There are young souls in need of guidance, direction and leadership. There is work to be done. God is their in my heart and watching over me as well. I leave this life because at the very core of my being I am and have always been a creature existing in two worlds. I was born for the work that I do and no matter how painful the departure I cannot alter that fact.

The sadness of the goodbye and departure from my life here is nothing new. Yet it is the same emotion each time. These things simply do not become easier with repetition.

I have watched over the last several days as my beautiful, loving and devoted wife has busied herself with motherly preparations; asking me again and again if I packed this item or that. The packing is done, the preparations are complete. She has little to occupy her mind with except the fact that we will soon be apart. This wonderful gift from God has been my wife for thirteen of the nineteen years I have been in the military. She is no stranger to the goodbyes. She is solid and stalwart yet she is also tender and needy as each of us for the company of our companion. I love her with all my being and leaving her is always a sorrowful event.

My children have handled this as they have every other separation. My son has aged years in the last few months since I returned from my last deployment. His understanding of the world has greatly increased. He has had many questions of me that I have never had to answer before. My daughter is just attaining the age that she is capable of demonstrating that wonderful womanly quality of aloofness. She does not understand the reasons I must leave but she certainly has the ability to express her displeasure with alternating hug sessions followed by carefully orchestrated distance keeping. I suppose that is her defensive measure to meter out the hurt over a period of time rather than feel the full weight of it at once.

I am long since past real fear of physical danger. That is not to say that I have lost the ability to feel the rush of adrenaline and the anxious heartbeats that accompany real danger. I have seen real danger too often and escaped unscathed to think I am impervious. I have seen men die of the most inane accidents after facing what appeared to be impending doom and danger in other situations. I have, what might best be termed, a sense of fatalism about these things. Car accidents occur daily and kill thousands, a myriad number of other deaths await unsuspecting souls. What becomes of us here on Earth and what death awaits us is not entirely in our hands. In a very real sense it is not within our control at all. There is no rightful or justifiable purpose in concerning ourselves over these matters. There is no practical sense in having real fear, beyond that rational men have as a method of self-preservation.

My faith in God is always renewed whenever I face real danger. My faith in man is always diminished when I view the depravity that man visits upon man. No creature on Earth is a capable of building great wonders. No creature on Earth is as cruel to its on kind as man. I became convinced the first time I observed war, in all of its awful and powerful destruction, that the best cure for humanism and atheism was for man to go and experience this for himself. A man that can see with his own eyes, and smell with his own nose the result of man’s fallibility cannot with intellectual honesty declare that man is a supreme being.

I shall not post again until I return. This should be an easy and short deployment. I plan to be back in six months; “God willing and the creek don’t rise”. To those few souls that read my occasional rants I thank you and wish you well.

I go now to do what I must do because it is my job. My heart belongs to God, my love and affection remains with my wife, my devotion remains with my children and my hope remains with the freedom and prosperity of my home. Dum Spiro, Spero

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem
El Cid

3 comments:

  1. "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- Orwell

    After much thought, all I can say is "Godspeed!"

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  2. Keep your head down and your powder dry, my friend. My mind is richer for knowing you. Hurry back safely.

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