As I watched the parade of cars drive down the Texas streets, I cried a few tears. How pointless. A man who risked so much and survived so many possible deaths lost his life taken to a fellow veteran on American soil! The tragedy.
I look across the coffee table to my wife, typing on her laptop, and I wonder what it would’ve been like had I served in Iraq. If I had taken a similar path. The toll it would have taken on her. The possibility of never seeing my children again. Or that baby Levi would never have been born.
How can life be so… fickle? How can the reality we think we know and understand undercut us that way? It isn’t fair. Hell, it isn’t right.
I ask myself the question every man asks when he chooses not to go to war. Am I a coward? Did I choose my little slice of safety and happiness over the safety of dozens or hundreds of American soldiers? Was I the person who could have been there for someone and watched their back, but wasn’t? Is there a point at all to what we’re doing, if life is so fragile as to be stolen from a man who had already suffered so much and fought so bravely?
I don’t know that I deserve this life. This opportunity. Men like Chris Kyle may have deserved this opportunity more than I. Or maybe they would have been better stewards of the time they have here to build something worthwhile.
Because ultimately, we face each new morning as we sip our coffee or tea with a decision to make: am I going to do something amazing today, or not?
How dare I waste even a single day when men and women lose their lives to protect their brothers? I don’t want to step outside tomorrow and face that untouched forest again and know that I have yet to fulfill the vision I had when we first arrived. Lost time is… tragic. Wasted time is… unforgivable. All that is left is to throw myself at a project that will make tomorrow worth having lived. A project that, when added to the days and weeks and months of similar projects, will add up to a greater sum. A work of art. A piece of land beholden to its maker.
And I will be home.