If You Want to See More Clearly, Try Covering Your Eyes

Good morning!  I hope your day is off to a great start.

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. Some of you have commented, and I think a few have enjoyed the reprieve. I get a little wordy sometimes, which is to say I never shut up. If you knew me personally, that would come as no surprise.

I can’t say this break was intentional, but I’m learning not to force myself when the muse just isn’t there. We all need time to reflect, and sometimes to just step away. The past few weeks have brought a mix of emotion, so I let it flow the best way I can. I know a lot of you feel the same.

A month ago, a very close family member was diagnosed with Covid-19. Thankfully, the symptoms were mild, and it resolved without any treatment. We can be thankful that, for some people, it isn’t as severe. The rest of us were tested as a precaution, and we were all negative. Funny how, in the medical community, “negative” is good. I’ve never quite understood that.

Last week, we got news that our dog may be very sick. We’re taking him to a canine oncologist today to confirm what appears to be bladder cancer. He’s shown some symptoms for a few months, but veterinary appointments were not plentiful during Covid. It took more than two months to get him in, and the outlook wasn’t good. We’re praying for better news today.

And through the middle of all this came the election – a quadrennial event that used to bring out the best in us, regardless of our differences. It was a time of hope, a time for us to make our voices heard, and to pat others on the back in the knowledge that, whether our side won or lost, we could all at least hope for a positive outcome.

I was reminded the other day of my last Indian Ocean cruise in the Navy, way back in 1984. It was in the final days of the Cold War, and just in case we weren’t aware of the adversarial nature of our relationship with Russia, we received a daily reminder every morning as a Russian spy plane would fly past with an F-14 on each side. They saw us, we saw them. Cat and mouse.

One afternoon, the captain told us we were allowing a Russian cruiser to come along our port side. I grabbed my camera and joined a dozen other guys on a weather deck to view the enemy first-hand. There they were, casually bobbing along as if taunting us to make a move. As cameras clicked, we shielded the sun from our eyes to get a better look. The mood was somber.

At one point, a guy next to me handed me his camera with a high-powered zoom lens. As I focused in on the other ship, I saw my enemy’s face for the first time. There they were, dressed in dungarees, not unlike our own. Some were snapping pictures as the others shielded the sun from their eyes to get a better look. Their mood was somber. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

You see, in that moment I realized my “enemy” was a sailor, just like me. They missed their family, they missed good food, and wanted nothing more than a peaceful existence with prosperity and hope for a brighter future. The only difference between us was geography, and the leaders we would follow into battle if the time ever came. Thankfully, it didn’t.

It’s easy to see somebody else as the enemy when all we know about them is that they don’t look like us or think exactly like we do. It’s easy to take one aspect of somebody’s life, a simple difference of opinion, and assume the worst about their motives and character. After all, your intent is pure, so anybody who disagrees must be impure. It’s that easy, friends.

And it’s just as easy to look across a few hundred yards of separation and see somebody who, deep down, wants mostly the same things we do. They want peace. They want security. They want justice and a brighter future. We may define those things in different terms, and we may see a different path to achieving them. But that doesn’t make us enemies. It just means we need to look closer to find that common ground.

Our nation has been through a time of turmoil like most of us have never seen. In some respects, the worst is behind us, and in others, it’s just beginning. But make no mistake – we will never begin to heal until we put down the swords and work toward a common purpose. It’s there if we only reach out and embrace it. There is no other way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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