The Will to Live

The Will to Live-1Today was another one of those day’s where I found myself being one of those people of whom I spoke before who can at the push of an internal button be transformed into a courier, a carrier, a design consultant, a listener, an advocate, and a public commentator.   That was me today and possibly a few more.  There were a few memorable highlights which made it quite the day while performing all those varied tasks.

I had to do a quick walk-thru on a home that was supposed to be completely vacated and found there to be quite a few personal items left behind by the previous occupants.  I really find it terribly sad when seeing family photos, children’s school projects, and perfectly good household items left behind.  I can’t imagine how people can simply walk away from things that not only cost money, but also tangibles that most parents store away and give to their adult children so they can share with their own children some day.  I know we live in a throw away world where everything must be new and now—all things of the past are considered useless.  One of my long term clients mentioned not so long ago how she’s noticing all the more how everything is geared toward youth.  We must dress like the twenty somethings, talk like the twenty somethings, have our bodies look like the twenty somethings, and if we don’t, we’re just not with the times.  Whenever I hear of someone speaking of the term “generational differences”, I would really like to get in their faces and say, “Exactly what is your definition of generational differences?”  I’ve had that term thrown at me a few times and after I had my say, I doubt they’ll be using it on me again in the near future. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who loosely uses that term is in denial of their own social deficiencies.

I had an opportunity this afternoon to have an extended conversation with a Veteran who lives here in the City.  The more he spoke, the more I listened, and the more I was appalled by his life story—especially when speaking about his involvement in the Nicaraguan conflict most have forgotten about.  He spoke about having to jump along with another soldier over 60 feet out of a falling helicopter that was hit by Sandanistan fire.   He and his comrade were captured, placed naked in wooden cages, fed a cup of rice that had more maggots than rice in it, rainwater to drink only when it rained, and taken out and beaten often for no reason.  Both his knees were smashed from his helicopter jump and that’s all he could think about was staying alive while being held for over 80 days by his captors.  The Rangers did finally find where he and his friend were and managed to overcome their captors and rescued.  He later lost his wife and two daughters in a car accident, and is still dealing with chronic physical issues from the jump out of that helicopter so many years ago.  Most who’d see him walking down the street would consider him just another hobbling older man.  Others would possibly think his stories to be fabrications created to invoke pity.  While listening to him, that thought never crossed my mind due to his emotions being aroused while recalling those past events.  While walking away, I was reminded of what was once said, “Within the spirit of mankind lays dormant a small flame which will turn into a hellacious fire when the will to live is triggered.” For most, his life story would considered a fictional horror movie, but to have lived through so much pain and still have a positive outlook is nothing less than commendable.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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