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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sometimes Life Sucks

It seems like my whole life has been one long battle against things that are bigger than me. My parents divorced when I was four. I never backed down fom bullies, and got beat up sometimes for it. I was picked on for being a nerd. A series of ear infections left me hard of hearing for a few years as a child. I nearly lost my leg to a vicious infection. I nearly lost an eye the same way. I was raised for years by an abusive stepmother. I was physically assaulted in my home by a very large renter. I was arrested on bogus weapons charges. I have had lifelong friends vanish without a trace. I have been hungry for weeks on end, and I have been homeless. All of this happened before I even turned 21.

By the time I was 22 I had my heart broken so badly it took me a year to recover. A series of personal issues and tragedies drove me from my faith in anger and despair, thankfully to return again, but not before betraying certain tenents of the Christian faith I hold so dear.

By the time I was 24 I had starightened out my life, married my wonderful wife, and was well along in a rewarding military career.

Now, the very purpose I have set my life to is under assault. Due to conflicts I have had with people in the past, and changes in the way the Army does business I have become a dinosaur. I even got in trouble for dropping a Private (making him do push-ups) when he got out of line. This is not the Army I joined, but I still love it because of what it stands for. It stands for love of kin and country. It stands for courage. It stands for dedication and service of an ideal greater than yourself. I have dedicated my life to the service for these reasons, and I do love it so.

However, the Army is changing, and I have been failing to adapt. Consequently I have had bad run-ins, and been in trouble for things that I grew up in the Army knowing as normal. This trouble adapting . . . this utter failure has convinced my command to consider putting me out on a mental discharge. This trouble, and my strong opinions, and ultra-defined sense of right and wrong that you all read here are considered abnormal. It has been defined as "Personality Disorder", which has been explained to me as simply not knowing when to shut up. If that is the definition then I am guilty as charged. And yet, despite all of this my command saw fit to promote me to sergeant because I am the best damn worker it has.

I have been fighting my whole life. From early on to this very day. It is what has given me the patience and tolerance to deal with people who have views that are stridently opposed to my own. It has given me the strength to weather storms that have inspired suicides. When I see wrongdoing I instinctively oppose it. I effortlessly draw on reserves of aggression without so much as a thought, and non-violently seek to right what is wrong.

I have seen so much sillines in eight years of service that just thinking back about it makes my blood boil. I long for the simpler days, before the Army was transformed into a beaureaucratic machine where paper matters more than deeds, where words speak louder than actions. I have been slogging through a PC nightmare, and I have done it willingly, and joyfully because I have been serving my home, and protecting my countrymen in some small fashion.

Now I have yet another fight ahead of me. I am fighting for the career I hold so dear to my heart. Once again my opponent is far larger than me, and the odds are stacked against me. Once again I go into the fray headlong, screaming "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" because it is the only choice I can see. I refuse to fade gantly into the night when what is being done is so wrong.

Yes, I am fully engaged in battle. I am fighting for the priviledge of continued service to my beloved country. I don't know if I will win, but I must fight, for the love of my country I must fight.

But first I am taking a break to collect myself. I am distressed right now, and probably not thinking too clearly. Who could be when they have just found out their whole life is being attacked? So I am going hunting. Nothing like killing and eating poor helpless 1600 pound animals to make a man feel better. Yes, I am hunting Moose. If I get one quickly enough I just might try to get a bear, and I will definitely get in some bird hunting. There's just something about shooting guns that is theraputic.

As for the people who complain about being dealt a bum hand in life, I'm one of you, and I refuse to surrender and make excuses for my failure. I suggest you do the same.

Boy have I been rambling. That's never a good sign. See you all in a few days. Keep me in your prayers.

Jeez what a way to get blindsided at the beginning of the week. And things were going so well too. Oh, well. It never lasts.

19 Comments:

  • Wow.
    You are in my prayers, Dan
    Godspeed.

    Good luck hunting, too.
    I expect to see some pictures!!!
    Mmmmm....dinnner...

    By Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy, at 2:03 AM  

  • I'm sorry to hear our military is swinging that way. That sucks.

    By Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy, at 2:04 AM  

  • We're on your side, Daniel. I don't like the way everything's being stung by the P.C. bug, either. I suppose the military would've rather you asked that Private how he feels... It is terrible that the military would be swinging that way.

    By Blogger Rebekah, at 3:54 AM  

  • Four sayings keep me on a semi-even keel:

    1. Water off a duck's back
    2. Go with the flow--one man cannot swim up Niagara falls.
    3. Don't sweat the small stuff
    4. Never accept a "no" from a person who does not have the authority to say "yes".

    Best of luck up there buddie.
    Keep the faith and it'll work out.

    Hooah!

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 4:35 AM  

  • I will pray for you. Your are a talented thinker and writer and would be an asset to any organization. Take comfort in the knowledge that the Lord loves you and wants you to be successful in what ever you want to do in life. May the Lord bless you always. Take care.

    By Blogger T.L. Stanley, at 4:43 AM  

  • May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing.
    May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl,
    Through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone,
    and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm
    where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs,
    where deer walk across the white sand beaches,
    where storms come and go
    as lightning clangs upon the high crags,
    where something strange and more beautiful
    and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams
    waits for you--
    beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.

    -Edward Abbey

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 4:52 AM  

  • That was extremely fitting and very beautiful, Dan.

    I hope that Daniel comes back refreshed and clear-headed and up to the challenge. The Army has indeed changed. My husband says it barely resembles the Army he loved so much for 20 years. He knows how much it has changed because for 15 year after he retired he was employed by Lockheed Martin as an instructor to the Army regarding Missile Systems. He has said many times that the younger people in the Army are a "new breed" and in no way are they a "superior breed."

    It is evident by your post, Daniel, that you are a fighter. I too was raised by an abusive stepmother. "Abusive" because she was an alcoholic. You've read some of my history, so you know I am a fighter too. But like Phantom says: "Go with the flow... one man cannot swim up Niagra Falls."

    If the worst happens remember there is life after the Army. And there is your wife who loves you.

    Blessings and the best of luck!

    By Blogger Gayle, at 5:24 AM  

  • Army or not Daniel, you are a soldier. I respect and applaud you.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 7:23 AM  

  • wow.. I relate to what you've written more than you know.

    God bless you!

    By Blogger Nunzia, at 8:07 AM  

  • God bless you, Daniel, and stay safe while hunting. But, best of luck with said hunting!!
    BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

    By Blogger Libby, at 10:00 AM  

  • Have fun hunting and enjoy your break, Daniel. Come back refreshed.

    By Blogger Samurai Sam, at 10:28 AM  

  • Finding oneself a dinosaur in the age of steam is a problem. I went through it with the Navy, which was why I retired. The fun had gone out of the job.

    Take some time, gather your thoughts, and your strenght, and then fight like hell if you still want to be there.

    Just keep in mind, adaptation is an art that is needed outside the service, also. Becoming a dinosaur out here can really suck.

    By Blogger Crazy Politico, at 4:35 PM  

  • Is the expression, "There's the right way, the wrong way, and then there's the Army Way" still used?

    I never served, so I can't speak from experience, but it always looked like the Military like any part of gov't is consumed by paperwork,politics, and other BS.

    We're lucky to have soldiers like you. Hang in there.

    You also proved the falicy of some myths by showing that political conservatives are deep thinkers and not neanderthals.

    By Blogger Rick's Corner, at 5:16 PM  

  • They want to put you out on a mental discharge? That would so damned funny if it weren't such a genuine comentary on the state of mess we're in.
    You seem pretty sane to me. And about as stable, and grounded as any blog I've read.
    Granted we don't agree on Clinton, or the current administration, but we do agree on a good many things. Come to think of it the only thing we seem to strongly disagree on is the actual politicians themselves. I think your naive and in denial about republicans and you probably think the same about me.
    I have to tell you though, this doesn't surprise me. I come from a military family. I've been a front row witness to the changing of the face of the military.
    Our armed forces have gone from being defenders/protectors of our nation, to being large corperations. The higher ups have all the advantages, make all the decisions and the underlings do all the dirty (and deadly) work. With very little appreciation. When one soldier dies(is no longer useful), push him aside, and throw up another one in his place.
    Those who serve for honor and country are fast being replaced by those who serve for profit ( upper ranking officers) and by default (signed up to play weekend war games, or for college money and got caught up in a war).
    I sometimes wonder if the real war on terror isn't right here at home.

    By Blogger wanda, at 8:42 PM  

  • I am sure every one is praying for you. I left the army after 10 years for the same reason you are fighting now. You are a better man than I Gunga Din. My only regret is the army has continued to become a testing ground for socialist Ideas. I will be on your side how ever you decide to go with your decision.

    By Blogger PoP, at 12:49 PM  

  • Yes, this too shall pass.

    It is heartbreaking to hear political correctness is invading our military now. Sad.

    And I won't say that God doesn't put more on us then we can handle because that is rubbish. What He does do is CONTINUOUSLY put more and more on us so we can rely more on Him.

    Good luck and God Bless. You are being prayed for in Alabama.

    By Blogger Alabama, at 1:48 PM  

  • Dan,

    As much as we've had our differences, I have in no way ever wished misfortune upon you.

    Phantom Driver and Crazy Politico have given some great advice here. Adaptation is an art, and a necessary one. Even if you're absolutely right, you can't change the whole system by yourself, and it does little good to risk your well-being or career to do so. There's got to be a way to try and effect change that doesn't endanger you. There are other ways to fight than outright and blatant defiance.

    Please don't take this as an insult, but rather as a question born of concern. Is it possible that you've been fighting for so long that you've developed a need to fight -- even when there is in actuality no real immediate need to do so, and you could be doing yourself more harm than the good that could possibly come of your actions? (Sorry for the run-on there.)

    I hope that your break from things does you good and at least relieves some of the stress. I wish you the best.

    By Blogger DadOBot, at 5:57 AM  

  • Dan....great blog you got here man.
    As an ex Canadian Airforce guy,I am saddened to hear that the PC BS is catching up with you guys.It's been happening here for 20 years. In 1989,our airforce lost 1/3 of its flight engineers and navigators, and 1/2 of its pilots, in ONE MONTH (May) due to PC.That's why I punched out.During the first Gulf war, our jet jocks were even oficially reprimanded for firing on an Iraqi ship making an attack run. Only God can help us if this keeps up much longer. Hang in there buddy. You have more morals and scruples than any 1000 lefties.

    By Blogger Justthinkin, at 6:59 PM  

  • You have a hell of a fighting spirit my brother! That was an awesome post that got me all fired up... I relate bro...

    Keep your head down and your powder dry my brother.

    By Blogger Peakah, at 10:44 PM  

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