Thursday, February 24, 2011

I’m a little Late, but still Thankful on this Thursday, ED IV

When I get the blues, which does not happen often, I tend to try and read something inspiring.

While I have not had the blues lately, I tried to get son “B” to read a book of my choice in order to get his brain “thinking” about how good he has it. Unfortunately as the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water.....”. So, I re-read it again myself.

More often than not, I read fiction. But every once in awhile, I find a true life book that perks me up a bit and makes me re-evaluate what’s “so blue” about my life.

I usually end up reading books cover to cover at least 4 times but this one has been read so much, it is near disintegrated and held together by a rubber band.

The autobiography of this man’s experience in Vietnam and his subsequent rehabilitation in a Navy hospital for 7 months is called “For Self & Country”.

It is not a novel for those who are faint of heart. The author, Rick Eilert writes a very graphic, honest and detailed portrait of his rehabilitation and his surgeries to keep his legs (left was the worst) after walking into a booby trap.

To read his descriptions of devastating wounds, amputations and burns as well as lives shattered and picked back up, gives a reader plenty to think about.

It is human because from his perspective, he (the author) often feels guilty about his own “feeling sorry” for himself when he sees wounds worse than his, which from what I read, are not many but are horrific.

So why would I ask my son to read this? The author himself mentions several times in the book that he truly believed getting wounded in war would be like treating a small flesh wound, a bandage and back to the front. He had absolutely no idea of the real horror behind war and the devastation it causes everybody involved. It is not pretty and you don’t just “magically” get fixed. Its brutal honesty is what makes it an eye opening read.

It also contains one of my favourite quotes from the author, something that I always try to remember when I am dealing with anybody in my life;

“Age is not a sum of years, it is a by-product of experience.”

They used to call the old guy in his ward “Gramps”....his age was 22.

So why in the Thankful Thursday post....well, I am thankful to have read this author and walked away with a better appreciation of what Vietnam did to people as I was too young to understand it while it was happening.

I am thankful that I can use the authors experience to put my troubles in perspective and maybe turn those troubles into challenges. And a lot of the time, putting things in perspective is about all you can do to get through another day.

What do you do when you get the blues? Do you have an inspiring read? Do you go somewhere special to re-group?


Christi said...

Thanks for the book suggestion. I will have to go find this one. I often read books about Vietnam because I want to understand the experience of those vets that were there. When I was in the military we were not at war and I know this sounds weird but I used these books as motivation to continue in my daily slog.

Jim ... 50after40 said...

One of my co-workers read that and recommended it. I'll have to check it out!

Chris K said...

Nice post Shawn. Like you, I rarely get the Blues. When I do, I don't try to fix it, I just ride it out accepting that I'm "in it" and it's part of life.

Jenn said...

I've learned a lot about putting things in perspective this past year. Not a blues fan:)