I'm standing on the edge of what I cannot escape. A tragic battle has risen within me. Sooner or later the vast fears of billions of individuals will concern me as well. Heaven versus Hell is a constant reminder of the consequences of our actions taken in this plane. The echoes of an eternity... wait inside of me.
We are, without a doubt, the unwitting products of our environments. As we grow up, certain events mold and shape who we are. Our personalities are sculpted by religion, class of society, places we live, and the many people involved in our daily lives.
Morals are created by the inevitability that you will inherently choose to do what is viewed as wrong. However minor these actions may be, there will still be judgment passed upon you. You, the defendant in these actions, will be found... lacking. Guilt, remorse - these are born within you as a failsafe of the soul. They keep you on track, and continue to guide your actions until you one day return to the earth.
So what does this have to do with war? What of an eternity?
Religion reinforces many things having familiarity with morals. I have always viewed myself in some light as being a Christian. However, due to my life experiences thus far, I am not yet 100% certain on my beliefs. Up until recently, I was never worried about any judgment other than my peers; social pressure. But then it happens.
There is an event in your life that shatters the pristine innocence about you. It can be monumental. It can be minuscule. But it will create a new time line; before and after. You will remember it for the rest of your days as a turning point - possibly a paradigm shift. You will see yourself in a different light from this point on. No longer will you be the Earth, center of the universe. Yet, thanks to your very own Galileo, you will be the Earth, sharing only a small slice of the universal pie.
I am a soldier in the United States Army. I have men that I lead into whatever this country has in store for us. These men were raised with their own visions of what is right and what is wrong. I, along with every other leader they've encountered, have also reinforced the values of the Army. We have been taught thoroughly, during our short existence, values of which we should stand proud. Cut and dry, black and white... these are phrases we use to show the differences of our right and wrong.
There is a terrible thing that lurks beneath these values. Not everything is cut and dry as you know. When the black and white becomes gray, no one is safe from judgment; be it their own.
My soldiers will know this feeling for the rest of their days. I will know it each morning I awake, and each second that I sleep. It will slowly become a war within us. Some will lump us into the PTSD crowd, combating our feelings with prescription medicine. Doctors and psychologists will try to justify the reactions our minds are having. It's not a justification I'm looking for. It's inner peace.
It is becoming very apparent that I have a decision to make. A war of morals will be waged in the hearts of the bravest men. Should I rely on a religion or a spiritual path to guarantee that heaven is the side we're working for? Or should the conviction of my own morals be the judgment used in this war?
I would hope that I've lived good enough that a religious choice not be made solely for salvation - as silly as that sounds. Only time will tell. But one thing is certain for now...
We've made it to tomorrow.
The views expressed within this journal are my own, and in no way represent the views or policies of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or any other official agency.