“As to what I dare, I’m a old bird now, as has dared all manner of traps since first he was fledged, and I’m not afeerd to perch upon a scarecrow. If there’s Death hid inside of it, there is, and let him come out, and I’ll face him, and then I’ll believe in him and not afore.” ~ Great Expectations
A scenario was proposed: what if Putin’s Russia invaded the United States? Would we take up arms against the invaders or greet them as liberators? A sharp rift developed in response; two factions emerged. One vowed to fight. Who knows if the Russians would have good intentions or bad towards us? Further, we wouldn’t want to give up what our ancestors took by force. The other side argued that the US is the epitome of Satan and Putin’s Russia is the modern stand-in for Christendom. Why not greet them as liberators?
I couldn’t make up my mind so I chose the third option: go to the hills and protect my family as best I can until it all blows over. That I don’t really have a family is neither here nor there for the scenario. Without one I’d be better off anyway. What did our Lord say about the end times? How dreadful it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers…
Well, most of my friends believe that was a reference to the Roman sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD and while that’s probably true, I think the point of it applies to any people on the brink of collapse. Makes you think about what really matters in life.
Maybe it’s because I’m in a bad spot in life, or maybe it’s the full moon, but last night I couldn’t sleep. Heavier matters than outlandish hypotheticals weighed on my mind and I ended up outside, staring at the moon and stars. I thought about the absurd barriers we build around our hearts, used as convenient excuses to keep out the full brunt of life’s emotion. My best friend, for example, just felt his baby move in his wife’s womb – the two of us grew up together and he’s having this timeless experience, and I can’t be there for him. My sister just had a baby and I’ve only seen it once, briefly. My uncle is about to go into open heart surgery and we don’t know what might happen…
…life, ladies and gentlemen. Life is far grander than we realize amid the monotony of it and sometimes a full moon and a sleepless night shake us out of our reverie. This, the passing of life from one human to the other is one of the highest aesthetic goods – and that good is personal. And He is loved and worshiped by those who hear His voice.
That’s more important than arguments over political science and revolutionary tactics. So what of our scenario? I’d have to look at the terms of it closer and decide which end would benefit my loved ones more. So, while a Russian, Chinese, Korean, Iranian alliance victory over the western powers might be a win for nationalist ideology, it would be a terrible loss for my people.
…maybe, as I’m struggling to figure out what to do with my life, I’ve come full circle, back to wanting to defend my homeland (as best I can)? Far less naive and far more cynical now than I was when I enlisted, and skeptical about my ability to contribute, but I have nothing to offer those around me other than sacrifice – sacrifice of myself so they can live. I can feel that. It feels right.