Sunday, September 4, 2011

You will never be the same

My friend is a Marine. I met him around three years ago and he would always mention how he wanted children and to settle down. I always found that strange because he was young, but after considering that he had experienced the death of a sibling, it seemed reasonable to me. He had deployed to The Middle East and ever since he has been back in the U.S. his relationships have ended because the women that he was involved with was used to the old John Doe who wanted kids. I began to speculate that it was something about the war that changed his decision about children. 

The classic structure of myth involves a hero who goes on a journey where he learns something that changes him. Once he has been changed, he takes his knowledge back to where he originated. I miss the pre-deployment John Doe. It is unfortunate the effects that war has on people. I cannot imagine what anyone's psyche would be like if subjected to such violence. It is not only the loud sounds, but the smell of blood and flesh and the fear and the uncertainty. I don't understand war. I have been fortunate enough to understand peace and I wish that for everyone. Killing hasn't gotten us anywhere. The violence continues in the countries where there is fighting and until there is a diplomatic solution casualties will continue to rise. 

Everyone is a hero and everyone has gone on a journey. I think of mine as being college. Since I went to college, it would be hard for me to tell children that they should go, too. I would find myself being brutally honest and telling them that it is a lie that they can be whatever they want to be. Maybe I would not be that harsh but I would do a lot of tongue biting. I'm not a dream killer. I would just tell them that there are ways to be successful that do not involve higher education. I remember a guidance counselor at my school used to say that life would not be fair and it depended on the choices that one makes. I thought that was a very dismal saying, but I should have listened more carefully and taken his experience into account. I'm not even sure if I used that saying right. I need to learn American Idioms--idioms, period. 

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