nothing special

I’ve let myself slip into the struggle of parallel worlds. The ground where the soldier meets his adult self. No longer is war a game. The costs? Measured and understood.

I don’t think it’s unique in the sense that it only happens to veterans. I hear my parents’ generation say all the time, “I think back on that night, and God! What was I thinking? I could have been killed.” And now … it’s my time for that realization.

I am not an old man, but I’m not a young one either. I’m not a young buck anymore, I’ve become an old soul. I’ve seen the things that others could not imagine. I’ve done the things people who haven’t been in my situations, could not possibly understand. I cannot explain myself anymore now than I could as a teenager trying to figure out what to do with my life. I’ve done so much with my life that would take an eternity to convey to anyone else.

I’m nothing special, but I know I am different. I’m changed in ways that only my brothers understand. I’ve spent thousands of years of innocent existence in a split second decision that no one bearing my DNA back the beginning of time has had to make. I have decided who lives and who dies, and depending on the day and my mood, I’m sorry for it or proud of it.

I am not a flag waver, but I love my home. I’m not the perfect son, husband, father, friend, or business partner. I’m flawed. I still wear my uniform that reminds me of all the experience I’ve gained, which if thought about too long, hurts me deeper than anything.  

Portrait of a legionary soldier

I try day after day to convey the dire messages and lessons of those experiences to ones who need it most, but are too young to understand the severity of what they volunteered for. I wear stripes that mean little to them. They don’t understand what’s been done to earn them. I’ve made my fear wait, because the task at hand was more important. I’ve trained the un-natural until it was. I’ve devoured the desire to quit, when it was the only thing I wanted to do. I did all of this because I thought it would make me a better man, and in ways, it has.

On a Friday night, I hear the hollers of the young men now. I remember my time wearing that same rank, growing those bonds with those same kind of friends, but I don’t join them now. It is their time. Many of my friends from then are dead.

As if my life were on repeat, I cannot stand by and see the faces of the living play out the acts of the dead. I cannot detach my past from the present in that way. For me, it’s linked forever. I cannot stand around a fire and smile as if I hadn’t done this very thing moments before terror rained down and tore apart my friends. I only see gone faces in the flames now. I feel at times that I can relate to every tragedy in the world.

Soul crushing pain is not new. It’s not new to me, or the Warriors of the present, or the dead. I’m not unique, in the sense that I’m alone in this. The ghosts of history stand behind me. I can feel them. “Not yet,” I tell them, and they agree. But, we all know that a change has to be made. No tortured soul can stay this way. Living in fragments of war. No veteran of combat can fight an enemy that’s not there except in his memories. No person can be the Warrior forever without it consuming all he is, and all he could have been.

I stand in these parallel worlds. The Warrior — grizzled, angry — willing to destroy himself, if not for just another battle. Too tired to even raise his shield and sword, staring at the Wise Man, the Warrior knows the pain, suffering, triumph and defeat, fear and despair, success and love. All of it earned by making it through the worst of humanity. They glare at each other. I am both of them. They are me. They are each other.

But alas, there is something more. There is a choice. I have the choice. I am the choice. I can allow myself to be consumed by the Warrior. Battle until it kills me. Go out the hero struggling against an immovable force. Or … I can thank the Warrior for all he has given me. For all he has shown me. For the strength to get me to this point of existence … and then kill him. Kill him with the knowledge and wisdom of a better man.

To continue to live and journey as a soul on this Earth, I choose the Wise Man’s existence. The Wise Man lives. The Wise Man loves. The Wise Man has the strength to understand what has happened to him. The Wise Man knows that to begin to heal, he must stop the Warrior. He must not ignore himself and his emotions anymore.  He must not continue to inflict pain and expect to be immune from the weight of what he does.

In a short time the Wise Man will win out over the Warrior. The Warrior will suffer his first defeat. He will fall in the spiritual world having never faltered in the physical. The Wise Man will feel sorrow for having taken such a necessary existence away. The Warrior is always needed somewhere. But the two cannot possess the same body.

The Wise Man will cover the Warrior is his finest kit to pay respect for the grueling hours he’s battled in it. Lay his body on the funeral pile along the shores of combat. Burn his being, so his soul can be free to move onto the next body of war and push him onto the lake.

Then the Wise Man will take a knee, face out — and let go.

old man in the mirror

As I gaze upon a frail old man opposite me
He looks at me and a smile appears on his face
I decide to stop and talk to him for a while
To reflect upon those years gone by
Old man, where has your life gone?
~
Time has flown by, doesn't life moves so fast
Can you remember when you were younger?
Handsome man with long dark hair, the ladies loved,
but its all gone now, not even any grey patches
A gleam in your eye just like James Dean,
but your face is old and wrinkly now
Your hands were so strong, but now shake and shiver
Like a stallion, your strength was of legends,
but through the years you became so weak and fragile
Do you remember all the loves?
All those hearts your broke?
The one that broke your heart?
I know she skips through your mind from time to time
Such a beautiful woman, full of class,
you thought one day you would marry,
have lots of children and die happy.
Funny how life works out, how it never goes to plan
What you have today is never what you thought it would be
Do you remember all those who hurt you?
Through time you learnt to forgive,
life is too short for grudges
I know you miss your real beloved,
your precious mother, who sacrificed her life for you
Who held you so close the day you were born,
sadly, you lost her so young
Life was hard with so much poverty,
and I know you wonder what happened to your childhood,
but you got through and learnt how to spread love
You didn't let the demons defeat you,
because your were drawn to the angels
Think about all the happiness you brought,
how many tears you wiped away and how you listened
But what about those dreams you had?
Do you have many regrets?
Or is life too short for that?
Do you feel you have left behind a legacy?
~
I see loneliness in your eyes,
everyone you loved, has left in the end.
Are you happy with what you will leave behind?
Do you like what you see in the mirror?
~
As, I turn away from the mirror,
and tears roll down my face
I think to myself, what happened to the fun and the adventure
Whatever happened to all those passengers?
What happened to me?
But, then I remind myself,
life is what it is and everything happens for a reason
Some you win, some you lose
Life is too short for regret
It's good to reflect, but also good to be content...

Unfortunately for me, I seem to be just fine and im not done with this world yet

ive been thinking alot about the conversation we had, I understand your disappointment. Why did it have to be like this? Why isn't the world moving in the direction we'd hoped? It certainly is frustrating, I know. But let's be honest here, the world we live in today isn't all it could be. In today's world, none of us really know who we are... we are unaware of our strengths, or the role we are meant to play. perhaps we live our lives at the mercy of the times my friend, but Perhaps it means we can't be fooled. No matter how beautiful the flowers are, people will just wipe them out, but you know, sometimes I feel like I wanna roll over and die, Unfortunately for me, I seem to be just fine and im not done with this world yet

Think of the world as a system. It needs people who build things, and other people who manage things. Without people to manage it, even a garden can become a wilderness. We all take care of our gardens; planting trees, keeping the grass green, planting pretty flowers... and pulling up weeds. But if we just let the grass grow as it please, would we really call that 'beautiful'? Would we call that 'freedom'? They may not admit it, but everyone likes that sort of thing. They like places and things that are well-managed... safe.. Haven't people always strived to organize the world in just such a manner? Building cities, fashioning tools, making rules?

tho I agree with you on this point, fighting is not the answer, we can't let anger and hatred control us. If we attack each other now, the world will become a battlefield once again. Nothing will be gained..

History is much like an endless waltz; the three beats of war, peace, and revolution continue on forever, so there’s no need to hurry. history will always repeat itself.
Strength is a necessity. There will always be conflict but yet, Power is whatever one makes of it. Foolish are those who hope for it in excess. yet, equally foolish are those who resent it for no reason, And I realize there's a certain bitter irony in saying that some of us are fighting in order to bring about an end to the fighting,

I also want to tell you one more thing my friend, Anyone who has ever wept because they felt weak or powerless has always had those kinds of thoughts. But the moment you acquire all that power to make that world you dreamt of, you become the one who causes others to weep tears of loss,

For my part, I don't think there's anything foolish or mistaken about trying to protect the people who are important. We can't be sure about what's best for the entire world, but I believe that we love this world as much as we do, because of the people we love, who are in it, but right now, it's the only option we have. We all wanna do something to help, and really, none of us are sure if this is the best way to help out. But we can't just give up now, can we? And knowing something's not right but doing nothing about it is just as bad. We know what that will bring. I think we know all too well.

That's why we have to go mate, to prevent history from repeating itself but hopefully, Eventually everyone learns. Like the first person did, about good and evil. Then the fear was, that they'd reach out for the fruit from the tree of life, and live forever. As a result, people were punished, and exiled from paradise and eternal happiness. Could this be the reason why humanity is forever stretching their arms out? Searching for the garden they lost in the distant past, forbidden from ever returning to it?

But time only flows one way, that's why I believe that what we're really searching for still lies ahead. Somewhere in our future, though there may not be a tree of life, I'd like to think that some day we will fashion a garden with our own hands. One where we can live in peace and in happiness. Never forget that,



~

Forget how to care.

Forget how to trust.
Forget how to love.
For my sanity, I must.

Been burned by the promises
and many a lie.
I've sat back and watched
as my feelings all die.

I vowed I would love,
honor and cherish her always.
But she treats us like we are
invisible... daily.

How can anyone like that
deserve love for me.
My children and I
deserve to be free.

Free from the arguing,
the names and the drinking.
Free from the insults
for even just thinking.

For now I will live
as the "unaffected me".
If only to salvage
my diminishing sanity.

~