Blog: Peacemonger-Peacenik-Refusenik: Conscientious Objector
by rudenski

Lessons from Death

When I was a child I hid from the darkness by pulling my sheets up over my head.

Date:   10/18/2006 4:45:46 PM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 2989 times

or...Lessons from having died and living to tell the tale...

I didn't know what was out there in the night but I was afraid. Something in the darkness that I did not know I feared could get me. I didn't know much about the world way back when I was young and what I didn't know made me fearful. When I was in the third grade, Vietnam was on the television most every evening. Television was not "real" to me back then but I knew my country was at war. It was during those Vietnam years that I remember singing songs about brave soldiers who fought and died for my country in choir and those songs made my fears go away while I was singing them.

When I was in my teens, I fell in love with flying, aviation, and the military. I paid for lessons to fly airplanes with money I made from throwing three paper routes. I drove my motorcycle to another town to a country airport. I was the second shortest kid in the ninth grade and had to sit on a phone book to fly but I could fly an airplane like a pro. I wanted to be a pilot in the military so bad that I could not wait to join up. I dreamed of flying on a secret suicide mission to the Kremlin in Russia with a nuclear device to destroy the evil Communists. I was a very poor student in school but I knew how to fly and hoped I could join the Army and become a helicopter pilot.

When I become a soldier, Ronald Reagan told the nation about the "Evil Empire." Those words from my President, when I first began to serve, made me hate my nation's enemies. They were like the boogie monsters that haunted my youth. What I didn't know about my nation's enemies made me afraid.

As days turned to years in the Army, I learned a lot more about my nation's enemies and even though I still sang along to cadence songs about killing foreign enemies, I began having second thoughts. The soldiers we were planning and plotting to kill were my age and they were told the same things about my nation being evil as I was told...only in a different language. I learned that ny nation's enemies were given a political education each week to make them good Communists. Something was changing in me. I was no longer short anymore in those days and I was growing in other ways. It was during these days that I understood I was given the same kind of indoctrination the Communists and Muslims were given in foreign lands but my indoctrination was given to me by my pastor, my teachers, and my nation's politicians. I still believed in "Freedom and Democracy" but the more I knew about my enemy the less I feared and hated them.

While I was in the army, I still loved to fly. I would check out airplanes and fly my friends all over the country. I loved it. Flying to me was one area of my life that made me feel special about me. I still wanted to be a "lifer" and stay in the army but I very much wanted to fly helicopters. Tragedy occured. Just a few months before I was going to be permitted to apply for helicopter flight school, I was involved in a car accident and I had a Near Death Experience. In heaven, I didn't see people as people but rather as orbs of light. Asian, Persian, African, White or whatever race was not consequential, each of us was an orb of light in hevaen. Today, I realize that the tragedy changed me dramatically.

When I returned from my visit with God, the last bit of fear about my nation's enemies was dispelled. My education was now coming from a different source. My enemies were not my enemies after all. They were just like me. They were the light of God beneath their uniforms, different colored skin, different languages, and different religions or lack of one. And...they were loved by God just the same as me... One thing was for certain, when I returned from heaven, the darkness was gone. I didn't want to kill anyone anymore.

Today, the wars and rumours of war go on and on but I am not afraid of my nation's enemies. My enemies are not my enemies at all. The are children of the light that is God. I left the Army after I recovered from my injuries because I could no longer muster the fear I needed to hate my nation's enemies enough to kill them. I never did return to flying though a few times I tried. Today, I realize that flying was my political indoctrination. I would kill anyone just to have a chance to fly. Point me at an enemy in a plane and I would be a weapon for whomever told me to kill the children of whatever nation I was pointed toward.

When I was a child I feared the dark. Perhaps darkness was death that I could not give a name to because I had never seen someone who had died. Having died myself, I do not fear death. Today, I walk in the darkness ann I am not afraid. Death is an illusion. There is no sting in it. When we die in the physical, we go back to whatever we call God and beneath the illusion of our uniforms, races, religions, languages and nations....what is truly "real" is that we, everyone, are each of us brothers and sisters. The night no longer haunts me and death I fear even less... Today I hear my nation's enemies called evil again but I can not see them as evil at all.

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