I have not been in battle (knock on wood) so have limited credibility, but it seems to me that for every war hero who does something fanatical (like charging a machine gun nest) and survives, there are a thousand would-be heroes who are flat out killed, but we only hear about the one survivor (partially due to propaganda). So the last thing I would ever do if an army of soldiers was passing by my house is race out with a gun and fire at said army (being part of a militia might be one thing, but an individual and overt act is quite another). Yet, here is a German soldier’s diary excerpt from the Battle of the Frontiers in World War I, compliments of history.com: “Nothing more terrible could be imagined….We advanced much too fast—a civilian fired at us—he was immediately shot—we were ordered to attack the enemy flank in a forest of beeches—we lost our direction—the men were done for—the enemy opened fire—shells came down on us like hail.” I truly wonder what that unfortunate civilian was thinking. Had he given up hope? Was he suicidal anyway? Did he have a fleeting moment of invincibility? A burst of desperation? One of my favorite lines about war is from The Civil War (Ken Burns), who quoted someone: “War is all hell.” I can’t think of a worse human instinct than war, especially since it is so often “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.”
My daughter’s friend was miserable at home. In recent years she’d run away from home a couple of times. She has spent some time with our family, and think she likes spending time with us, so a couple of months ago asked my daughter if she could stay with us. Wife M had to work it out with the parents (who are none too pleased) but L’s friend is unofficially living with us right now. I love that she feels comfortable at our house, and that wife M has had a conversation or two with her about curfew/friends etc and she has been really respectful of that. She is a great person, especially considering how unhappy she was, and I’m glad we have a place for her to stay. I wish her parents were a little less threatened about it, but I also can understand their pain. We’ve made it very clear that this is not official in any way, that she is just crashing at our house indefinitely – we don’t want anyone to feel that we are imposing our will or trying to take control and want to avoid legal battles (yikes!). We just want everyone to be happy.
PS I love that daughter L has embraced this too. She has had to share her room and has lost some privacy, since her friend lives in her room. But that is so important, to learn to share and that when friends are going through tough times we don’t just offer verbal support but share shelter with them. I wish there were more of that in America — I feel so many AMericans are all alone in our culture that prizes independence to a fault. Plus I think L likes it – the two of them get along very well and seem to have a healthy blend of privacy but companionship, like close siblings.