War is life multiplied by some number that no one has ever heard of.

Sebastian Junger, in War

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If Junger is correct (and I believe he is), then life is in some part war.

Yes, your life is in part conflict – a struggle with life itself, with fate … and with others. Yes, others who wish you ill.  Yes, the malevolent ones who cross our path or house themselves in our family or turn out to be one we even chose as a spouse.

Some will balk at this notion that life is war in some quotient.  But look around, is it not the case that siblings turn on one another, that spouses betray rather willingly? Likewise, do others not seek their own advantage at your expense and do so willingly? Do the stronger not prey on the weaker?  Do parents not jump ship?  Shirk their responsibilities to their children? Abandon ship without a wrinkle of remorse?

Do the disordered among us not concentrate their incoherent lives around one major poison: selfishness … a poison that spreads its injury among all who come in contact with them?

What amazes me most is this: many, many people never quite come to understand that if war is life multiplied – then life must be in part combat and, failing to face reality as it appears they proceed along from collision to collision, transaction to transaction unprepared, disarmed, ready to be abused and disadvantaged once again.

By the grace of God, I saw the difficulties of life from a very early age.  I saw betrayal and gratuitous self-serving injury invoked on others without a glint of regret by the perpetrator (who often proceeded with a smile unless you grabbed them by the throat with proper admonitions intended to make a point about their existence and its prospective limit).

Yes, grand as life is and can be, this is a messy world and conflict is part of it.

Cain killed Abel.  Intra-family violence.  Is this not a clue?  The fall of Adam and Eve. Another clue is it not?

Yes, we are capable of good.  And, yes – we can also do great harm … some people specialize doing wrong intentionally.  Think about Junger.  Are you prepared for conflict or are you prey – a sitting duck, targeted over and over without any capacity to protect yourself?  Are you not obligated to protect what God hath made in you?

Shalom.

 

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