Tuesday, November 3, 2015
I started listening to Still Haven't Found What I'm Lookin' For (1987), and to U2 just over a year ago. Okay, I know that makes me a little slow. The 40th anniversary of U2 being formed is next year. Better late than never.
I listened to this song as I trained for the Ironman triathlon last year.
With my Army career ending soon, it's time to admit that re-enlisting at 54 was great way to have a mid-life crisis and keep my family, job and bank account. But it was a mid-life crisis. Worse still it was a spiritual quest that failed. The radiant spiritual part of being in the Army my first time around was absent this time.
When I re-enlisted, part of me really thought I would meet the kind of believers and non-believers I met in the 1970s Army and be part of a group of people living in the shadow of a World War 3 who were looking for the Kingdom of God, and looking across the border at 250,000 Soviet troops who were going to make the Kingdom of God a shorter trip for us.
In fact the annual casualties of the Cold War were higher than the part of Iraq where I served. During the 1970s, the annual NATO war game called REFORGER claimed 30-50 lives each year. That was back when we drove Jeeps. Half the deaths were Jeep rollovers. Crashed helicopters and people crushed by armored vehicles were most of the rest.
But if humility is the center of spirituality, as most Divines agree, then going to war at 56 is a spiritually corrosive. That deployment was my first actual combat deployment. When I flew to Camp Garry Owen on the Iran-Iraq border with Col. Peter Newell and got the 1st Armored Combat Patch, that was the first time I wore an Armor unit patch despite seven years in Armor in the 70s and 80s.
I really was looking for spirituality. I really got pride.