My status

Friday, February 23, 2018


Grunting through the last few miles at the old railroad bridge, my 50# ruck seems heavier, but I remain resilient. My trusty Garmin GPS watch, circa 2004 with its large digit numbers, maintains perfect time with my heightened, if not bedraggled gait. I pledged in November to ruck for 26.2 miles and only a week past a 3-day stint at the hospital, I am making good on that bit of nonfeasance. Each step brings me back to thoughts of every moment I had rucked prior with various units, companies and companions.

From the stillness of abandoned farm houses in Hungary, to the bitter shadows of mass graves in Bosnia, to the rapidly unsettling moonlit journeys on the Ivory Coast of Africa, each step echoes a pulse of permanence & blinding memories to mind. My feet suffer, reel even, from injuries from over activity, carelessness and duty. I ache and struggle to proceed. My Nike tennis shoes, an opposition of fashion to the monochromatic military field clothing draping my structure, dutifully keep pace, even as my intention strengthens.

On the eve of my 44th birthday, I feel renewed --- inspired even, as much I would ever allow myself to believe in my false hopes of ambition, success or potential. Two seasons removed from a heart attack, loss of both parents, complications of employment, relocation and strife, I feel as rugged as the rip-stop Kevlar embracing my shoulders. The grit, the rebellion finally lining up --- no longer a boy trying to prove to others of his travels, braggadocios or ashamed of his struggles or fortitude, but a man owning these truths and sharpening his steel in purpose, not defiance to the world around him.

The world has changed him yet again, but this time, the reemergence will be legendarylaughing to himself, perhaps surreptitiously meaningful.

Realizing with each step, it is okay to be strong, it is okay to be at peace. It is okay to be me.

I don't have to be weaker, to make others feel stronger.
I don't have to abdicate my dreams, to allow others to realize their own.

In the midst of the shadows and solitude, I am healing. The darkness always provides shelter from the harshness of travel, bitterness of your burdens, absolution from your lies and hope without the promise of the sunrise.

Sometimes, we need to make our own way, be our own source of light.
One day others may rise and fall with our arrivals, our sunsets, look to us for their warmth ----

If God is willing, I shall be that man.

44 --- The best is yet to come.

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