Waking up this morning I felt that sick stone pressing on my lungs again. Breath a little short, metal spoon-like keeping me from inhaling the bright dawn. Throbbing pools held back just behind the shell of my face. Not enough power to let it down, to let them fall, to release.
Because I remember you, where you are this morning. And where our world is. And where I am. Dearest War, your steady hand is so far from me. Between us lay timeless mountains and cold waters and unkept fields and busy buildings and childhood homes and abandoned streets and warm seashores and crying babies and broken-down trucks and birthday presents and quiet fireplaces and homemade bread and frantic phone calls and snake bites and broken toes and too many sunsets. The chaos and peace of today is meant to be shared with someone. And you are not here. With me.
I understand you, Dearest War, that you had to go. You were made to defend the weak, to lead and inspire, to fight for the ideals that we have all forgotten. You were made to teach and be the one they would listen to. In comfort and ease you couldn’t be content, not at a time like this. Your heart is captured by the good and faithful cause. Destined for the bloody battle, emboldened with the weapons of integrity. You must be there. And you have always been my inspiration. Near or far.
And I think of you too often, Dearest War. Who is there when you are scared. When you don’t know the right answer. When you celebrate a tiny victory that no one else can see. When you need to yell about the stupid decision you commander made. When your neck is sore and need a tender touch. When you need to taste a soft lingering kiss. Alone you fight, and man was not made to be alone. How can you sustain without Love’s whisper in your ear. You are too far. For my words to touch.
I write to you, Dearest War, wondering where you stand this morning. Or sit. Or lay. The present intense silence almost breaks my heart. That today you are standing silent in service to a greater vision, committed beyond yesterday’s promises, marching toward a brighter good than when we last spoke. That today you are sitting silent in a dusty hole, splattered with scabby crimson marks, glassy stare at the sunshine only shining on your cold breathless darkness. That today you are laying silent in warmer bed, washed in a foreign scent, exhausted with a brilliant resilience of another. Each day of stillness creates your uncontrollable story. Rationally reminding my heart, nothing has changed. Irrationally reminding my head, how do you really know anything, anyway.
But don’t worry about me, Dearest War. I like to dream that you wonder where I stand. Or sit. Or lay. I am still surrounded with continual life as if nothing has changed. Oatmeal and mint toothpaste. Next door neighbors and cold beer. Yet, each, any, even all of it cannot add up to what you have affected in my being. Now each skyline looks a little different, every conversation sounds a little different, every drink tastes a little different, than before. I am here. Even if you are not. And I am yours.
Don’t be fooled, Dearest War. You may still believe that Love only loves love. Needing of immediate touch, starving from too-long absence, desperate for a true friend. But that’s not how she works. Love loves that War must go into battle, as lonely as she will feel. Love is patient, forgiving, and never-ending. And most of all, Love knows that War fights for her. For the good and the true and the beautiful and all that is worth loving. Even if that means he may have to leave his love behind, for a time. Even if that means you had to leave me behind.
Dearest War, keep fighting for me.