The utter East…

My favorite author is C.S. Lewis and in his book “The Dawn Treader” the character Reepicheep makes the comment upon reaching the destination of their journey that they were now at “the utter East.”  It was meant not as a conclusion of the journey, merely as the attainment of the end of the beginning, and in as such the beginning of a new adventure.

I recently returned from my final tour with the US Army and with receiving my DD214, I have found myself at my very own “utter East.”  The times that I was able to serve with brothers and sisters in uniform have been some of the proudest moments of my life.  I had opportunities to see places and events that I never in my wildest dreams would have thought possible.  I won’t glamorize or sugar-coat my own service, for it was neither the experiences of Platoon or American Sniper.  I served in mostly support roles, working as hard as I could to live up to the best that I had it in me to attain and as my Marine brethren would sing, to “keep my honor clean.”

There was a time when I was very aware of my path, one where my devotion to family and to my God were the driving force in my life.  I have never been perfect, far from it actually, but have been relatively focused on what truly matters in life.  I was once the pastor of a small church, and I preached from that pulpit that the only right and proper way of looking at life is to put our priorities into God first, others second, and ourselves a distant third.  Today I can’t even remember the last time I read the Bible or prayed…and I know that is the wrong answer.  But somehow, this last tour just hurt and throughout the time it seemed to just get worse and worse.  I knew that I was in trouble before I even left, but what was I supposed to do?  Call someone up and say, “Hey, I think this is a mistake.”  I probably should have.  But that kind of thing is one of the things that I am most afraid of, that everyone will find out that I am just scared and that I can’t handle it.  It’s like this time I was diving off a high dive in front of everyone, just to show them that I was unafraid.  The whole time, I was terrified, but I just kept diving and maintaining to all around that I was unafraid.  Well, I am afraid and I am hurting.  But it is not just me that is afraid and hurting, for the decisions of my life have affected those closest to me, and we are all afraid and hurting…

“The utter East.”  That’s where I am now, the arrival of the beginning of a new chapter in my life’s walk.  I honestly don’t know where it is headed, but I do have direction and I am seeking guidance.  I have titled this blog “A Veteran’s Walk Back” because it is my goal that I am going to walk.  To move.  To pick my pack up and hump out.  I am sure to have success and setbacks, but my intention is to shoot my azimuth on God, rely on family & friends, and if need be shoot a back azimuth from time to time to stay on course.  I commit here and now to being honest, even if it hurts.  I commit to documenting truthfully and moving with the same focus that I used to take so for granted.

To the journey…


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