Comment: Charles de Foucauld

(See in situ)

Charles de Foucauld

Not knowing the particulars of your history and going by your mention of recent military service, I share what comes to my mind and hope that if it relates to your circumstances in some way then perhaps it will offer a path forward for you. Several years ago I came across a book written by a Muslim scholar offering his perspective on a Christian warrior that had underwent metanoia and altered the trajectory of his life that would leave a positive imprint on those people whom had once considered him foe. This man, Charles de Foucauld, perhaps in some small way helped to mend relations between Christians and Muslims, French and Algerians or, in the least, provided precedent that sincere friendships could be pursued with former foes.

In a similar vein, I am also reminded of a relatively obscure episode where former soldier St Francis of Assisi walked across Crusade siege lines into the Muslim camp to confront the Sultan with the intent to negotiate a surrender through conversion; while he did not succeed in his planned objective, he survived the encounter and both sides grew in mutual understanding and regard for one another.

I am not a soldier nor could I envisage my life path leading to an experience matching yourself. I do believe that our life experiences, those background markers that help shape our identities, help direct our future ambitions and what we sometimes call our purpose in life. Gary North, director of Ron Paul's home school curriculum, similarly refers to this calling which he describes as "the most important thing that you can do in which you are most difficult to replace." As I see it, those who have gone through the hell of war and live to testify to its horrors are in a unique position of influence. They can serve as ambassadors of peace (who could slander such people as cowards? certainly not the chickenhawks). They can become councilors to those confused by the PTSD haze recollecting their own missteps and discoveries. They can face the hardships of life along with the menagerie of humanity and blaze a trail of survival, guiding a family with courage and optimism that may allude others. Look to the history of those who have walked before us and follow those who have lived what you perceive as a good life. It may not be the easiest of lives, and sometimes it may be mired in fighting. But fight the good fight and it will be enough.