I never wanted to join the army. I always assumed that I would fail as a soldier. I believed I was both physically and emotionally incapable of serving adequately. Though this is untrue, I found myself fighting a different war anyway. It is a much older, intangible war.

A war of the soul.

Most importantly (to me), I’ve been at war for my own soul. With the world against me, I have learned to resist the onslaught of genetic composition, culturally molding, and various forms of manipulation.

I can’t say that I always do this well. I should think that I would use a much different word than “war” if it were easy or simple. No, this is a daily raging battle of the mind. Much of which is unseen by the bystanders and civilians in the vicinity.

I have been told that I am too hard on myself, but who wouldn’t be harsh in their self-assessment when raised by a father whose idea of “grace” meant not cutting out a new switch after the first broke against his son’s pantless backside? In his defense, who wouldn’t he be cruel in discipline and angry in demeanor when raised by parents who were far more abusive and harsh?

Studies have suggested that responses and behaviors (including alcoholism) can be genetically transferred from a parent to a child. Our children can receive instinct and personality traits from us, thus the tendency towards depression, rage, addiction, etc. can be passed on (much like an STD).

Between the nurture and nature that I inheritied, as well as what my parents inherited and their parents before them, I more than have my hands full. The neurological pathways have been dug deep.

Yet there is hope. There is always hope. Even the darkest, stormiest nights prove incapable of hiding the full truth.

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. 

Thankfully, my faith does not rest on humanity. It stands apart, sustained by none other than God Himself. Otherwise, my faith might have shriveled away unto death a decade ago and one terrible night might have yielded the end of a journey so painful, yet so incredibly beautiful. It would have meant the loss of the war…

My faith, even at it’s weakest moments, helps sustain me and bring relief from pain and despair. I can be assured that He is with me, and He will one day see everything brought to completion.

God made me strong. I don’t always believe that I am strong, but this is an instance where belief doesn’t get to dictate the truth. God infused me with the necessities of survival and He bestowed life unto me.

Does this mean that I think people who commit suicide are weak? No. Nor do I see the taking of one’s own life to be bravery either. I believe God instills in all of humanity the capacity and strength to survive. It means that one of our own has lost the war, and didn’t have to. It means that someone didn’t receive the help and love that they needed. Suicide should never be seen as weakness, but it should never be seen as a victory either.

We keep fighting. We keep learning. We help each other out and we “do not go gently into that good night.”

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