Why cant there be Peace on Earth and good will toward men? Why is it that we have to send our loved ones to foreign countries to fight wars and enforce peace? I often wish that we lived in a gentler world where all this contention didn't exist.
My brother Michael deploys tomorrow to Afghanistan for a whole year. I cant really process that this is actually happening. Our family has been expecting it for a long time now, in fact, it's been 7 years since Michael joined the army and this is his first deployment so I guess that is a silver lining, but now that this day has finally arrived I'm in total disbelief. I called him yesterday and cried and cried. I couldn't help it. He is my little brother. The one person aside from my parents that has been a part of my life for the longest amount of time. He has been my friend for 28 years and my brother for much much longer. I love him! I feel like a huge piece of me is going away. I'm very sad. I always told him not to join the military because I know myself and I know that if a deployment ever came I would have a hard time handling it. Michael, knowing this would be a way for him to reach his goals, joined anyway. His first day of basic training was Sept 11, 2001. The day the world changed. By then, it was too late. He was already enlisted.
On the bright side, a lot of good has come from his time with the Army. He learned to fly a Chinook Helicopter (which is used for transporting troops and cargo, he refers to himself as a "bus driver") and because he worked hard and is a smart guy, he gained rank and stature within his program. He is a warrant officer which means he is a specialist in his field. His schooling is paid for and he and his wife have benefited a few times from his awesome government health insurance. Am I stretching here?? He studied really hard for a lot of years and learned how to do something he really wanted to do. To say that I'm proud of him is a huge understatement. Words really cant reach the depth of my pride. Michael is a hard worker and a bright young man who has prepared diligently for this task. I know that he is ready for this. Unfortunaly, I don't think I am. :(
In a book called The Art of Living by Epictetus
there is a verse on becoming a citizen of the world. I totally think of Michael when I read the following. Be a Citizen of the World
One cannot pursue one's own highest good without at the same time necessarily promoting the good of others. A life based on narrow self-interest cannot be esteemed by any honorable measurement. Seeking the very best in ourselves means actively caring for the welfare of other human beings. Our human contract is not with the few people with whom our affairs are most immediately intertwined, nor to the prominent, rich, or well educated, but to all our human brethren. View yourself as a citizen of a worldwide community and act accordingly.
I hope that Mike can find the joy in serving the people of Afghanistan, his fellow soldiers, and our country.
I love you Mike!! I'm honored to call you my brother. Good luck, have fun, and come home safely. Please.