I recently watched two tv dramatizations of war all the way through. The first was Band of Brothers and the second was Pacific. Why? Because I wanted to understand something in myself.
I’m no hero. For these people certainly were heroic in all they faced and went through in an intense period of time.
But today is delivering up conditions similar inside the head, hands and hearts of people all around the world.
What am I talking about?
The long stare
I finally understood that stare. The one you see these people have after engaging in life or death struggles.
I see the actors portraying the emotion that is essential to understanding what they just faced and survived.
It’s all in that stare.
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, I see this and I understand it now.
Not because of being in the very same situation as them. No!
But because I have experienced the effects that reproduce that stare.
Here is what I am talking about.
My life has been one of providing for my family. The sole bread winner.
Things, lots of things, did not go as hoped for in the ambition of life, my life.
In fact nothing it seems ever works out like I plan, or set out to do.
I’ve been a care giver, bread winner, worker, supporter, teacher, planner, lover and more all balled up and rolled into the mess that is me.
Along my road I’ve taken care of my wife through cancer, surgeries, pain management, depression, constant illnesses and battles with other people who though they knew what I needed to do with my life.
I’ve raised my granddaughter, aided my daughter, in my late forties and through the my fifties. Through things I cannot talk of here.
My very essence has taken a beating. My values torn. But love held fast to keep these loved ones close to me and alive.
I used to shrug it all off. I could do this. But I can’t, not without the help and comfort that a life a Christian can ask for from their God provides.
My friends have aided me, comforted me, encouraged me and supported me. I have been able to do the same for some of them.
Along the way I met the stare and wondered about it.
Not any more.
You see inside the stare I have found the following.
The modern conditions of living are like a battle for each of us.
With this battle comes the conditions that beat us down, hurt us, change us, force us into pain and more.
They are unseen forces that always task us, try us, test us and more.
Here are the main ones I am talking about.
The stress of…
Others and their demands and expectations that they place upon you.
I am supposed to be able to do certain things, that others cannot. When I don’t do them I come under pressure to conform. To deliver. To be that person they imagine.
The stress comes from the unending of it all, the expectations of others. All very real.
Self and the demands and expectations you and I place upon ourselves.
Since I am capable of more, I expect to be and do more, but I am getting to that place where I can’t and don’t want to at all.
Stress tears the soul, and we never see these tears until often too late.
The anxiety of…
Always being pushed to hard for too long without relief in sight.
Work, that place of swapping hours for dollars. Along with the attendant benefits that keep us coming back.
That work that creates anxiety and uncertainty in us all. Asking ourselves have we done enough, are we good enough and more.
Until the body starts to break down, and the attendant pains come on to warn you of other needs.
The anxiety is always present, at home at work at life all the time.
The fear of…
Failing to overcome the conditions that surround you, and giving in to the great grey mush.
Time will pass you over and eventually you give up, give in and give yourself over to the nothing.
I hate the idea of that.
The fear of failing. In all we do there is the possibility of loss. But losing our livelihood, our income our loved ones.
That is a fear unto itself. It’s a fear of being alive.
I love being alive, as do most people.
Fear is real. But courage is fear that has said it prayers and continued living.
The fatigue of…
Work without the reward we hoped for.
I seek fulfillment in what I do. When it is there it is satisfying, when it is not the fatigue of effort is real.
The double down, do more, work harder expectations at the job from bosses who either have no clue or know what they ask is beyond us.
But they ask is of us anyway. With the same thing accomplished; nothing to be faced the next day.
As the years pile up on us, the fatigue sets in. The insights we gather tell us things. Things we do and do not want to acknowledge.
The rest needs to be longer, but we are always given shorter time than ever before.
The worry of…
Loss without recovery and security.
Seeing friends loose their employment, struggle with that loss and more.
How to meet the bills that seem to always come in. Especially when you have surfed down the mountain of doctors, hospitals, treatments and more of cancer.
Hoping that all is over, not sure, always wondering.
The loss of valuable effort and precious time. No one wants to go back and do this all again.
Worry is real, some are better than others at dealing with. Most just push it to the back of the que and fight on in the battle of living today.
The pressure of…
Imbalanced living and facing the relentless demands of each day.
Nothing is free in this life. I don’t expect free. Those who do are slaves to that delusion.
But I do expect some relief from the incessant pressure to trying to balance life in the face of these other conditions.
We live with pressure to eat well, work well, love well, act well, support well, help well, sympathize well and our wells are dry. Bone dry.
Pressure has put us into a tailspin of upending our time. We run out of time so quickly too.
The isolation of…
The digital age, were we are so connected and often so isolated as well.
Who do I turn to now for the help I need immediately, right here, right now?
In my case I hav IN REAL LIFE friends. I can go to their homes, they can come to mine.
The phone them up at 2:am friends, who will drive 4hours to come to my aide if I said I needed it.
But we still are isolated inside this flesh looking out through these eyes.
And the stare is there. The blank unblinking observation without noticing, or caring. Just looking.
And I have had this stare for a little while now.
Time for rest and more. Time to stop the battle and rest from it all for a while.
So this has been wing it type of podcast.
One were I reflect upon what has been happening to me and those loved ones around me.
How I do and do not succeed in being the steady, supportive anchor in a time of life storms.
But I have tried.
You don’t see the effects upon you immediately. But your behavior starts to give you away.
The tricks to keep yourself going that you use.
Counting days to a day off, or a vacation, or a treat.
Wanting to be alone, really alone without noise or interruption interruption from others.
You know what I am talking about right?
Can you relate to this?
Do you see this stare that sort of just cuts out and through the things that brought it to you in the first place?
If you do, you can reach out to me. I’d reach out to you but I don’t know who to reach out to.
You can contact me, I’ve made that easy to do.
We can share our battle stories of living under the bombardment of stress, anxiety, pressure, worry, isolation, fear and more.
It might not change anything, but it might just bring a short relief.
Most of the battle is physical for us all.
We get worn down and the machine gets the red light coming on: attend to engine soon.
Then it goes into attend to engine now.
Then we break, and sometimes that break is beyond repair.
It is happening all around us all the time.
There is also a spiritual battle to this living today.
I understand that I have the Unknown Book and the Comfort of its author to help me.
Yet things are difficult for me under those helping circumstances.
But, you may not have this comfort, that makes this battle just about unbearable.
I can help with that if you like.
As battle weary as I am. I can help. Because, well, I am battle weary too.