I am reminded… of a very special and deep gratitude I had not drawn a connection to until this very moment. The Grace of God brought one particular man back form Vietnam alive. A HERO to his country, he continues to honor this title throughout his life synonymously and simply as “the man.” The actions of this man, which he would claim as “ordinary,” have made the lives of so many others anything but.
After his return to “civilian” life, he took on the title and role of “DAD” to a little three-year old girl —raising her as his own— when he vowed to become the husband of that little girl’s mother. As she grew into and through her adulthood, “the man” gave that little girl everything he could, in whatever way he knew how.
Eventually, his wife bore him a son of his own. He was humbly satisfied to see his boy grow into a fine upstanding man. He beamed with nostalgia and a sense of fulfillment when son married a beautiful, brilliant young woman that any parent would joyously call daughter-in-law.
Yet, as each of us has some “skeleton in the closet” (or perhaps even an “elephant in the room”) at some point in our life, “the man,” with his skeleton, marked him no less of A HERO. In fact, I say, in the end, it made him more so.
I would further venture to guess that much of the younger human demographic, exists with the unspoken assumption that via travel along the chronological variable (one of many) by which we quantify and measure our life, it is granted that the eventual arrival at some arbitrary marker on this time line will serve to label a pigeon-hole we like to call “our golden years.” This will be the time when we sit back, rest on our laurels and enjoy the fruits harvested from our labor.
Not so for this Hero. As what should have, by (all aforementioned and so-called) rights, marked the beginning of the man’s “golden years;” instead, made demand for a complete reevaluation of his life. Some of which, likely included a reexamination of some of the darkest years of his younger-days.
Ipso facto, he set out to begin The Hero’s Journey once again. If you ask him, he may tell you it was the hardest thing he has ever done… harder maybe even than surviving Vietnam.
Regardless of the causes or the reasons: blame it on Vietnam, blame it not wanting to feel any pain, blame it on the very blood that runs through his veins; it doesn’t matter. The man set out for battle once again. This time however, the Draft was not mandated by some human-governmental-authority. It was a Draft dictated by the only true authority, that of The Supreme Universal Divine Creative Force. This time the risk was not one of ENTERING a war zone, but rather one of ESCAPING… and the only route out was narrowing rapidly. This was the most dangerous war zone in all eternity; this was the war zone that exists only within The Self. It was a covert operation that had perpetuated unchecked for decades, long after Vietnam had nearly been forgotten. It was the Battle of Alcoholism in the War of Addiction. Those who know, will understand this: Paradoxically, the only ESCAPE is through finding one’s way to the road called Surrender. It is by traveling this road that one is lead to refuge and eventually a to place of peace. The finally irony perhaps, is there IS Victory in this war of The Self. Yet is is a Victory that requires constant vigilance and can only be maintained “One Day At A Time.”
In the meantime…
While “the man” was deep in the battle trenches of Recovery…
It just so happened that the man’s son and daughter-in-law were busy bearing and beginning to raise their firstborn child.
Last year the man, The Hero, and his long-suffering wife bravely set out to move nearly 1500 miles from (the comfort zone of) the town the man had called home for nearly his entire empirical life.
Because it is his nature.
Now sober and LIVING in Recovery, it was time for the man to “carry on” and continue to fill his Hero’s role
…only this time he came to become A HERO for a new little girl.
Surely, she is his pride, his joy, his reason.
She is the man’s Grand-Daughter.
So as the cycle completes, it must begin again.
Many people get second a chance in this life,
but not many of them will rise up again to hark the Hero’s call.
A true Hero is compelled to answer this beckoning.
For there is nothing else for the man to do.
It is his nature.