May 17, 2007

A (Semi-Fictitious) Military Story

One day in hostile territory, the CO (Company Officer) told me to patrol a certain area. I had just come off of leave and was rested and ready to go. With that said, the CO gave me instructions that on my patrol, I was to search for a missing member of our battalion. We may not know that member’s location, but we know that this member is in the area somewhere.

As I patrolled, I ran into a member of another battalion who had been looking for a missing member of his own. He had been patrolling for some time and had come close to finding his missing member several times, but had still not been able to succeed thus far.

As I spoke with this man, he chastised me as a fool for searching and told me that if I were as wise as he (and as experienced), I would not even search, since searching was what everyone else was doing and none in our company had succeeded. Beyond this, the CO had told him to stop searching for a while and rest. I replied that I would continue searching since I was well rested and was following my leader’s desires. He chastised me again, calling me both desperate and a fool, for not ceasing from my search. Then he sat back, in self-righteous satisfaction.

As I observed this, I realized that he was so wrapped up in his own tired and worn-out perspective, that he didn’t even understand what I was talking about. He was not speaking from logic or out of duty to the CO, but from a battle-hardened and self-centered perspective.

Most importantly, I realized that in this condition he couldn’t see the big picture. He couldn’t fathom that the CO might tell one man to rest for a while and another to press on… as each was able…

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