Ever since Christmas I’ve been playing with army men. On a whim, one of my daughters gave me a bag of them, and they are positioned all over my office. There is one duct-taped to the dash of my delivery truck too. Although they represent the ugly facts of war or protecting peace, I love my little green men. Yes, I am a grown man with green men. You gotta a problem with that? Actually I wondered if this fetish is problematic for this civilian who has always maintained his civility.
Maybe I am reverting back to my boyish ways. My older brother let me tag along to a backyard battlefield meticulously staged with army men, tanks, pill boxes, bridges, camouflage, foxholes, and little jeeps on top of mounds. Colonels stood calling in air strikes on fixed coordinates as they gripped their binoculars with one hand. What took probably hours of preparation was destroyed in minutes with firecrackers and M-80’s and hurled stones. Our imaginations adhered to the rules of engagement of pre-teen testosterone. When the din of the firecrackers waned, we supplied our own sound effects that often spewed spittle to be wiped off our faces with dirty forearms.
Yeah, those were the days. The days before the reality of war began seeping into our prepubescent glorification of army men that didn’t bleed, they just fell over intact to be reset for another scene of “War is heck.”
Now this 55 year old soldier wannabe sits in relative peace reminiscing, and wondering why I am so fascinated by these mannequins of conflict, these Madame Tussaud-like representations of freeze frame battle. Okay, I better get to the point quick before I start blabbering on about Lieutenant Dan or Private Ryan, or the kilted William Wallace.
War has metaphoric undertones, does it not? It has spattered the wallpaper of history so much that I walk past, often desensitized, to the next safe zone. All the news pouring into our living rooms from all the conflicts around the world become like over-exposed film (Remember having to have pictures developed?) , a whitewash of “oh, isn’t it a shame?” as a commercial or a click of a mouse tells us “move along, nothing to see here.”
But where does war begin? Oh, if that isn’t a loaded 50 caliber question. I need to walk this back a bit. Okay, a lot, because I don’t have the wherewithal to commentate, like Morley Safer in Nam. My thoughts are more base-camp, boot-camp in nature, because these little men got me thinking about my so called peace-time existence.
A friend of mine recently threw out the question “Are we ready for what’s coming?” He was referring to life from a Christian worldview. I am Christian, sometimes manifesting as a skeptic, or on really bad days as a practicing agnostic. Still, I am convinced that God exists, and Jesus Christ ultimately is my only hope. I figure if God so loved the world, he can surely love me. For that, I am truly grateful.
But these men. Green men with weapons. All denial aside, we’re in it. Yes. Call it war. Call it “That’s life.” Call it the “resistance” like Stephen Pressfield affectionately labels it. Why does the phrase “Three steps forward, two steps back” exist? Because there is an anomaly that holds us back unless we press into it. Our potential must be fought for. I believe our ultimate potential is found in God. Since Adam and Eve fell in the garden, humanity has been falling all over the place. I am human. You are human. C’est la vie. No. No C’est la vie!
My thoughts on this are not done, but one thing I do get from my army men (and God’s narrative) is that in this world there will be war of all kinds. I can’t see Jesus eating C-rations or wearing a flak jacket, but I know He knows what it’s like down here. I know He fought the good fight (The best fight ever. For us.) and was able to say, “It is finished.”
So, what are you up against? As long as gravity holds our body and spirit to this field of operation we need to resist the resistance. My army men remind me. God help me.