Balanced and whole

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Balanced and whole

Post by John T Mainer on Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:37 am

I had the privilege of spending pretty much the whole night and most of the morning swapping stories with one of our Freeholder's who had come down to our annual Althing. Graeme is a well rounded heathen with many years upon the path, and an experienced soldier who has practiced his trade in some of the same blood and mud that I did, and the far harsher tests that awaited his generation of soldiers in the Sandbox.
Recently I was a small part of the Words For Warriors project Link, which is our attempt at the Troth to prepare our soldiers for what they will encounter, and prepare soldier and family for the process of the return home. Whenever you undertake a project like this, the question always arises, is what we have sought to provide going to be useful and applicable to those facing the challenges today.
I am an old soldier, heir to a family tradition of ugly war that does not fit the story books, but has been a family reality that is etched into our very fabric. The truths I was raised with do not fit what our society paints in its idyllic pictures of a soldiers life; don't kid yourself, the "gritty" movies are just selling a different fantasy, because some of the hardest parts are just not entertaining, but a kind of soul destroying slow boring pressure-cooker that warps everyone in ways that takes years or decades of decompression to fully deal with.
I have spent a fair portion of time dealing with those who came in with bright eyes and trust, and came out with experiences and changes they could not easily cope with. Heathen men of the warrior tradition really don't do the whole ministry thing, but we take care of our own. When putting band-aids on the mental bleeds, I often wondered if any of our efforts to prepare the next generation were worth the powder to blow them to Muspelheim. Now I know.
Graeme is no boy. He is a man with years of experience behind him. Though I am his elder by a full generation, he has more time in the fire, and hotter, than I have. The balance, maturity, wisdom and perspective he has is a testement not only to his character, but to what can be done by a warrior given the tools of our faith to prepare him for, to process, and integrate the experiences and trauma of our chosen trade. Graeme was our Tyrbold winner two years ago, a banner he took with him to Afghanistan yet again for a tour outside the wire. The Tyrbold award is given to that person who exemplifies the warrior virtues, the way of Tyr, the path of honour.
Our warrior guild exists to prepare those who chose to place themselves between death and the folk, as healers, or as warriors, most frequently as both. Blood comes off skin faster than it comes off minds and souls, so the guild is a mixture of practical preparation, mental preparation, and a safe place to discuss, vent, and learn to integrate those changes that dancing with death make upon those who have paid the red coin to decide who lives.
Graeme is a new generation of warrior. He is far closer in spirit to our ancestors than I could ever claim to be at his age and experience level. He is now where I was a few years ago, and I have absolutely no doubt he will have the ability to walk farther upon his path yet. His generation is the fulfillment of the promise that mine groped towards, mostly unseeing. The teachings we earned so hard have born fruit. Those who follow after are more whole, more balanced than those who went before. The price we paid in no way will make the price they bear any less, but it may help more of them be ready to meet it. Ours is not to meet their test, but to strive that those who must meet it are prepared. It has been worth it.

Fiat justitia ruat caelum
"Let justice be done, though the heavens fall."
John T Mainer

Posts : 1004
Join date : 2009-04-01
Location : Maple Ridge, BC Can

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