Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Earn This"

I just finished watching the movie "Saving Private Ryan" with my roommate.  Prior to this, as roommates, we watched the "Band of Brothers" mini series.  As I watched on TV a depiction of the blood and horror that engulfed those soldiers in the conquest that they undertook in order to defend the freedom of mankind, it aroused a great sense of gratitude in me.  While always having been thankful to those brave and selfless men and women who are willing to lay down their lives, I've been reminded in the past couple of weeks of the debt that I owe to these amazing individuals whose lives spans across countless generations.

I realize that watching it on TV doesn't begin to give me an idea of what it was truly like to be out there on the battlefields of hell, lying in wait for a mortar shell to randomly land next to me; perhaps even wishing it would so that the seemingly endless misery might be brought to an end.  I am aware that I will almost certainly never have to stand face to face with the enemy in desperate gun fire hoping to kill him before he kills me.  For this, I have an even deeper and swelling gratitude than I had previously realized as I watched these dramatic scenes reenacted; for I know that despite Hollywood's usual tendency to over dramatize everything else, they cannot begin to tap into the misery and torment that those soldiers must have felt as they counted each day passing by, only hoping that they would live to see the next, and most importantly hoping that they would live to see the day that they would arrive home once again, to resume the peaceful lives from which they had been ripped away; I imagine that the dream of every solider must have been that day that they would be allowed to awake from their worst nightmare that had become their reality.

The very end battle scene in "Saving Private Ryan" really just pulled on my heart strings as Tom Hanks' character is sitting on the bridge bleeding to death and the last words that he speaks to Private Ryan are "Earn this."  I know that the message is applicable to all of us, and should not be a new idea to me; the idea that every day of my life should be devoted to making this world a better place; a memorial to those who have laid down their lives for it. However, the idea of that man actually speaking the words to the fellow soldier for whom 8 lives specifically were spent in the mission to save his left a powerful impression upon me.

The movie is now over, and I'll soon be lost in the thoughts of my finance course work, and listening to Christmas songs streaming from Pandora, while I sit comfortably at my desk, in my room, in peaceful, pleasant Orem, Utah.  I know that this feeling will reside and I'll become distracted with other things that seem pressing; but I hope that I always am able to keep the mindset of "earning this" freedom that has been so courageously and selflessly gifted to me.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You're Average

I was reading in the scriptures today (It's true, I swear!) and I came across the word "mean".  This led me to ponder regarding the originas of the adjective, as it is used to describe someone who is ill-mannered, or malicious in their comments or actions.

In statistics the word "Mean" is used to describe the "average" or the middle.  In this case then, is the word "mean" intended to describe someone who is negative or ill-mannered as "average"?  If so, when we use the word "mean" are we insinuating that we believe the average person to be ill-mannered or malicious?

Deep thoughts...