It’s now been over 17 years (20 counting deployment) that our family has been impacted from the by-products of war. More than some. Less than others. And it’s not just a national issue, but world-wide and timeless.
Violence of any kind has effects in our personal lives, homes, communities and world.
Sometimes it seems that violent actions are the only method of self preservation. WWII is a graphic example of that. Sometimes there are alternatives. Sometimes the notion of building defense in the form of organized military, caches of weapons, and newer and more deadly arsenals seem to make sense. And the world keeps spiraling into a story of righteous violence that perpetuates the very thing that could destroy it.
Having paid witness to the harsh aftermath of war, I began my personal journey of discovering violent conquest (and/or defense against such). I zoomed back to my own heritage; the roots from which I come. It was either violent conquest or seeking refuge from it, that sparked my ancestors to travel from the other side of the world and land me here, at this moment in time, with a son who has now survived 17 years that the ripple effect of war has had on our lives.
Zooming out to the big picture of my own lineage, I shook my head and wondered if there was a better way. Then I remembered some martial arts training I had in my 30’s. Everything in which our teacher guided me over my 5 year experience was with deep and profound respect for human life. Every technique we learned, every practice we had, was with the overriding philosophy that we must do everything in our power, always, to never have to use what we had learned. There was more than a physical component to our training. It was deeply spiritual and laced with great wisdom.
In martial arts the body, for the most part, was our weapon. There was no business or industry behind it that could profit. It was a simple lesson. Prepare always with great respect for life as sacred as the foremost guide.
I wondered what it would be like if we changed, redirected…remembered that theme, as we face conflict. I’m not an expert except for the past 17 years of being up close and personal to a veteran who has suffered mightily from the violence of war that he experienced (and all that goes with it).
I wondered what the ripple effect would be if we, and the leaders we choose, approached conflict differently.
It seems worth pondering.