E Plurubus Unum, Rex Montis

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What is Stress?

Is in the eye of the beholder
You could say I work in management. You could also say many other things about the work I do. No, I am not going to come right out and tell you what I do either. Mostly because it is not important, and even though I have a weblog on the world wide web, my life is not always an open book.

The other day, I had a women yelling at me. No, not my wife. I often deal with people yelling, it's part of what I do. I very much dislike it when people yell. Ironically, I work very well when the yelling starts. I remain calm and get a steel-like disposition. Sometimes I yell back. Sometimes I don't say a word. Sometimes I take complete control of the situation. Sometimes it just plays out. At times I feel like a dealer at a casino, a mere observer as life is dealt out in front of me.

Back to the women yelling. She was growling in-between yelling. The problem she was having was actually pretty minor. I know when you reach a breaking point, it isn't the minor 'thing' that is the issue, but it is the straw that finally crushes you, and you do not act logically.

However, after the first growled statement, "You don't know what stress is!" I disengaged from the conversation at hand and was transported to a different time and place. A strange buzzing sound, some small puffs of dirt in the desert sand. It wasn't until I felt the air pass by my face that I realized what was happening. A 7.62 x 39 round had just missed my ear lobe by inches. I ate gravel as I hit the deck and low-crawled towards the radio a million miles away. I was on an OP (Observation Post) and needed to call in fire support before I could engage the enemy, I might not get another chance...

"Are you listening to me? I'm telling you how stressed I am here..."

I'm whisked away to another time, near the same place as they brought my friend back from several different body-bags. He had stepped on an anti-tank mine. We had just played cards together the night before.

"...I mean, it' like you don't even care what I'm telling you. Now, as I was saying, do you know how hard it is to argue with someone who doesn't respect you?"

Many images rush at me. Piles of bodies, twisted, burned, dismembered. Truck after truck of bodies passing by my post, dripping a red trail for half a mile. The largest VBED (Vehicle Born Explosive Device) we had ever seen, killing dozens and dozens of the locals because they wanted to be free from a dictator.

"...Seriously, are you listening to me?"

"Oh yes, I'm listening to sounds like you had a very stressful day. What is it exactly you would like me to do?"

Anything that does not kill us makes us stronger? Sometimes. I thank God every day, for each moment I get to live on this earth. No one gets out alive. We only get one life to live, and we should live it to it's fullest. Completely conscious that we are responsible for every moment wasted and every moment well spent. I can only hope I live out the design I was created for, and that I finish the race well. I long to hear these most cherished words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I guess stress, is in the eye of the beholder.