Sorry about not updating for a bit. Part of the problem is that I’m not sure exactly who my audience is or what exactly they’d like to hear, so, anybody leaving feedback asking to hear about such and such subject or tale or what have you would be greatly appreciated. Here are the various periods of my life which may or may not be interesting to learn about:
- Childhood to parents divorcing, 1988 til ~2002
- Divorce to dropping out of high school and moving to Utah ~2002 til 2006 (with the help of a good friend and his brother, until I turned 18 at which point I lived on my own)
- Living in Utah until I ship to boot camp, and the rationale behind changing from a relatively “liberal,” “anti-war” sort of guy to a Marine, July 2006 to October 2007
- Boot camp, Marine Combat Training, and MOS (military occupational specialty) school plus my final stateside leave before shipping out for Okinawa, October 2007 to January 2009
- Okinawa tour, January 2009 – February 14th, 2010
- February 14th 2010 til approximately June 2011, aka the Wounded Warrior Battalion, early “retirement” and the psych ward hat trick
Note also that my own personal memory is notoriously bad and can sometimes be at odd with the “facts.” Then again, a lot of the “facts” (especially prior to 2002) are hard to discern because everybody in the family has a different take on just what happened, so, who knows. Anything after 2004 is more or less reliable, as I started to better keep track of and document things.
Anyway, today’s got me thinking about contrasts. It always comes as a shock to me when people tell me I’ve been a positive influence on them. Two examples of this really stand out in my mind – the first was when many of the Marines in my company looked up to me as a hero shortly before (and, more surprisingly, even after!) the incident two years ago, and the second was just recently when somebody told me that I had saved their life.
This contrasts quite sharply with the rather horrible, self-absorbed way I’ve more or less taken a crap on a lot of people who’ve had the misfortune of caring about me. Most people I just kept at an arm’s distance, and this “worked” well enough for me and for them. But there were others who got fed up with my games and tried to call me on my BS, which prompted me to vent all over them. The first such person I can remember doing this to was SD, and I was pretty well wrapped up in regret about that for a long time. The situation more or less “resolved” itself (as best it could) around January 2009 when I realized that things were just going to be the way they were.
Then there was KL, who was a more recent victim than SD. For what were probably stupid and selfish reasons, I basically told KL to get bent and swore I would never correspond again. Then, under the influence of the events of February 14th, 2010, I email KL with a very curt apology, which, surprisingly, is accepted. Of course, being that I’d be locked away in a military psych ward for a while, I don’t get back to KL for another month besides. And as you can imagine, talking to somebody while you’re still locked up doesn’t exactly lead to profitable conversation. Not to mention my treatment the first time around wasn’t the best (which those of you who read my “God Complex” write up last year might remember – for those of you who didn’t read it, I may or may not get around to putting it back up)…
So yes, having someone tell me I saved their life contrasts quite sharply with how I’ve treated these other people. Moreover, my outlook on my own behavior contrasts quite sharply these days as well – it wasn’t long ago when I actually prided myself on how much of a douche I had been to these people. This is evidenced by today’s retro post. I think there were other emails where I said even nastier things – and then I’d go around and gloat to certain friends about some of my choicer phrases, leaving them in awe that I’d actually say such things to people.
We’ll close with some scripture that more or less speaks for itself. First, some verses to remind me not to be prideful, as I once was:
[COLOSSIANS 3:12-15] Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
If you’re like me, you may have problems knowing what love is. (Which gives me an idea for a post for tomorrow if nobody chimes in with feedback!) Thankfully, scripture can clear this up:
[1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8, 13] Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away…. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.