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501206hnfoSI am a man with an easy compassion for strangers but not so much for those who would try to live my life with me. Not that I do not wish someone in it, but having lived it, knowing the challenges and costs of such a calling upon me, it is not unlike trying to prepare someone unfamiliar, with the horrors of war. You tend to put personal feelings aside understanding that your love means nothing if you don’t teach them to stay alive in it.

When I love someone, sometimes I feel like the shady recruiter showing the finer points of a soldier’s life, as if that boat is a cruise ship dropping you off to sunbathe on sandy beaches, concealing the wider angle of the machine gun nest further up and out of frame which is the real reason for basking on the sand, or that the sand goes on and on in an endless desert with no water in sight.

How do you invite someone into a world of such possibilities when they are cluelessly enamored with the dress uniform without any idea as to the true purpose of your discipline? Without knowing for sure if they can handle a fight.

If you have never known the responsibility that comes with great gifts or a calling, it is very easy to misunderstand the one who has chosen to be a servant to it- easy to become an obstacle instead of a partner in it- easy to say “this is not what I signed up for”. Many soldiers accustomed to the luxuries of peace rethink their uniform when it wears blood stained and stenched upon their battle weary soul.

The depths from which I write, are not alone inspired by my spirit within, but also from things I have well known to be without, and lacking despite my fondest hopes and grandest desires. To be with me is no simple task for a stranger to suffer. For even I who know me best would gladly take a vacation and leave rest that man who seems to never know any…. except, in the rare comfort of arms that embrace me even without understanding.

The loyalty of the kindred few who continue to bless my life despite the torrential taskmaster that I am, requiring no less excellence of them than I do of me- this I know, have neither enlisted nor remain by any great thing that I am, but in equal obedience to a higher call. As I grow in this thing still forming, I am humbled by those who are stepping forth to volunteer for their own freedom nearly 150 years hence told but never truly lived. And as grey falls increasingly upon my face, I cannot regret or mourn those who have fallen in the Battle of Me. I can only forewarn those contemplating enlistment, that it is unfinished. -Neo Blaqness