A note before bed

Tonight I was afforded the opportunity to take a shower. I like to stand in the shower for a long time, soaking in the heat, and whistling tunes. Tonight I was in a Scottish tune mood. But it is after midnight and I have another long day ahead of me tomorrow. I should stop referring to them as long days… as they are all long.On the way back to my room I stopped and looked at the stars above. They seemed so peaceful, so out of touch with the world that is around us. The violence of this world does not touch them. But neither does the love. A few hours earlier I had attended a small ceremony with twenty something other former Marines to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday. We read the birthday message from the Commandant, read off the list of battle streamers on the Marine Corps flag, and had toasts to the things that we are “semper fidelis” (alway faithful) to: our God, Country, Corps, Family and Self. The words echoed in those toasts and prayers echoed in my mind as I looked up into the stars above me. Semper Fi… hallowed words. It is our motto, but it is more than that… it is our north star. Integrity and loyalty are esteemed above all else.In looking for the things that are common to all, God, Country, Corps, Family, and Self… the list of common virtues narrows down. In the Marine’s Prayer was a reference to wear the uniform with dignity, to have courage and faith, and to esteem the virtues that Marines past have bestowed upon our Corps. As I was looking out into the stars I thought of how, for me, the hardest battles are the one’s inside. For some people it may be the opposite, but for me, in striving to be better than I am, a person of deeper character, the battles are harder and more subtle than being in a firefight. The enemy of the self is not a large, black, evil demon… but it is something that might be “okay”, because as humans we are great at rationalizing things that are okay into being good, and not all things that are okay should be good. I am tired. My eyes are heavy and I need to get some sleep. I can only think of my darling Eliza right now and the great battles that she is fighting within, battles without heat or explosion, but of subtleness like the shifting of sand upon which a house is built. I pray that I could lend her what strength I may have to aid her. Yet I know also that it is she that must win her fights and come out her own person. I wait for her.

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