and a friend informs you they have an incurable disease. Not one of those 40-50-60 percent chance things, but one of those truly incurable diseases, the ones that no one has survived. Your heart sinks, you search for words, words that would normally be uplifting like; faith, prayers, miracle, support, love, etc. But no matter how heart-felt those words are expressed they seem to ring hollow, empty, and inadequate. You put yourself in their position. Then you get angry. You know your friend is sharing those same emotions as you, but a hundred times over.
Like a petulant child you want to stomp your feet, shake you fist at the heavens and scream, “It’s not fair, it’s not fair!’
Then a voice comes softly but clearly, “No, it’s not fair, fairness implies justice. I came not to bring justice, but mercy, love, and grace. I play the long game. You are my beloved, you are my beloved through all seasons, even this season of pain and suffering, it is but a moment. You are my child, I’ve got you, promise!”
They are called “The Greatest Generation” for a reason.
Let me tell you about the “Sappers.” Technically they were “Combat Engineers.” Combat Engineers has a nice ring to it, unless 77 years ago today you had that title. During the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-day, the sappers job after they landed was to charge up the hill to find the land mines and clear a path for their comrades.
Tom Brokaw, in his book, The Greatest Generation, recorded the stories of some veterans who came back years later to visit Omaha Beach, this is what they said.
” … that hillside was loaded with mines, and a unit of sappers had gone first, to find where the mines were. A number of those guys were lying on the hillside, their legs shattered by the explosions. They’d shot themselves up with morphine and they were telling where it was safe to step. They were about twenty-five yards apart, our guys, calmly telling us how to get up the hill. They were human markers.”
They described the scene as calmly as if they were remembering an egg-toss at a Sunday social back home. It was an instructive moment for me, one of many, and so characteristic. The war stories come reluctantly and they almost never reflect directly on the bravery of the storyteller. Almost always he or she is singling out someone else for praise.
2,500 American soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice that day. 2,500 brave individuals would never see their families and loved ones again. They would never again have the privilege of standing when they heard the line, “Oh, say can you see.” They charged up the beach, knowing the odds were not in their favor. They sacrificed themselves for God, country and comrades. They knew they were part of something greater than themselves. Respect does even begin to tell the story. As someone said, They died fighting Hitler and the Nazi’s so that today’s kids could call anyone they don’t like or agree with, “Hitler and Nazi’s.”
Happiness is for amateurs, anyone can be happy, let me tell you how to be truly bitter.
1- Never live in the moment. Embrace your past mistakes, hold onto them, coddle them, never let them go or learn from them. Remember injustices (real or imagined) you have received in the past. Project the worst-case scenarios for future events. Imagine conversations and scenarios where you will be treated unfairly. They haven’t happened yet, but they probably will.
2- Never be still. Always be busy with something that can’t wait, move from one crisis to another. Check your phone frequently, searching social media for articles that support your preconceived ideas. Maintain a level of constant outrage and W.I.N.E. (Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything)
2- Never forgive. Nurture and fertilize every slight or insult you have ever received, someone must pay for this. If you forgive this may be forgotten and “they” will never learn their lesson.
2- Always believe you are owed something. Perhaps the most important point of all. Your current situation is not your fault! The… (government, community, business, job, society, church, political parties, etc.) have treated you unfairly and they owe you!
Tongue firmly in cheek, Poppy
Happiness is not dependent on wealth.
Contentment is not dependent on your social status.