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Updated: Aug 26, 2020

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

- Hebrews 11:1

Ever since I was a small child, I have been very sensitive to movies about war. I can remember when my dad would get weekends off from work, he would take over the tv and turn it to PBS to see what they had going on in regards to history. Most of the time, it was an old black and white flick about WWII.

I can remember being about 8 or 9 years old, sitting on one end of the couch, my dad at the other, and the tv's speakers turned as far up as possible (surround sound wasn't a thing back then). I want to say the movie was Hangmen Also Die (1943). I can't be sure, but after my googling to make reference for this article, that's what I believe it was after watching some clips. I definitely remember lots of Nazi uniforms, books being thrown from shelves by soldiers, and women with penny curls and pencil skirts crying- while the camera zoomed in on their glossy eyes filled with tears.

Anyway... watching these movies...

I'd immediately start crying, myself. Like snotting and bellowing out, doing that sniffing, snort thing that kids do when they can't catch their breath while crying. I mean, these movies TRULY upset me! They still do. Cannot help it. Saving Private Ryan had me depressed for WEEKS, and Seal Team 6: The raid on Osama Bin Laden... DUDE! Even when its Americans winning, I reverted back to my childhood and ran into my bedroom. Ended up rocking back and forth on my bed, eyes closed tight, tears rolling out, and clutching a pillow, like it were all a nightmare. And don't get me started on if these movies include the National Anthem or Amazing Grace being played at some point. WORLD... OVER!

As a small child, my dad understood why I was like that, but as I grew into my teens and still had these meltdowns, he was really confused. He had me in martial arts, working on a farm. He knew I could rough house and get dirty with the best of them, and had NO PROBLEM bucking up to anyone, so, why the hell was I such a puss when it came down to MOVIES about wartime. One day when I was around 16, he decided to ask, "Jill-O, why are you still such a puss when it comes down to these kind of movies?"

I told him, "I can't help but imagine being there... like... being a part of the action in real life. It scares the shit out of me... and its not the actual war things that scare me... its the loneliness and despair of those involved that gets to me. All of these movies show those things and I can't help but think about it happening to me or our family... like... in real life... some day."

I remember that day well. We... mostly him and my brother... just watched Platoon. That was also the day my dad taught me a very valuable lesson on the meaning of Empathy.

As I paced the hallway, holding back tears, my dad came from the living room to refill his beverage. Embarrassed, I tucked my head and B-lined to my bedroom to cry in peace. He followed with a chuckle to check on me, and that's when we had this discussion. He explained to me what empathy was, AND, why it was an important ability to have in times of hardship... like war.

When I told him that I even felt sorry for "the bad guys," but felt horrible for feeling that way at the same time, he laughed and said, "GOOD!!! That is a good thing!" He caught onto my confusion and said, "Its good because you can balance perspectives. Not take one side verses another, but be a beacon of hope for the innocent ones on both sides, who will really need it. Its a great quality to have. It doesn't mean you're a wimp. It means you're willing to see the struggles that lay under the surface, rather than JUST the ones on the top layer. What many soldiers learn during the actual action of war, you already have a head start." He then hugged me and let me cry it out.

Over 20 years later, the feeling still pulls at me. I'm not perfect by any means, nor am I claiming to be "touched" by God, but being an Activist for something, that benefits the whole, rather than just myself, I have to remind, NOT ONLY MYSELF, but others, that when things become confusing and sad, we also have to realize that WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE'S SUFFERING. And because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, we ALL have different ways of processing and sorting out how to react to certain situations.

We can't look back at a tragedy like that of the Parkland, FL School Shooting in 2018 and be angry at the shooter, but wonder WHY the he was the way he was, by giving him the slightest benefit of the doubt and saying, "Well... he was mentally impaired and a product of his poor environment." THEN turn around to present day, and not do the same for someone like George Floyd, or even... Jacob Blake... OR EVEN THE POLICE OFFICERS WHO PULLED THE TRIGGERS.


At the beginning of this article, I opened with a Bible Verse. One that speaks volumes.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

- Hebrews 11:1

This verse is meant to represent what its like to be a believer in Christ. Even when everything in the world seems to be falling to pieces, faith in what's beyond it all (like going to Heaven) is what gets us through the yuck. Bible verses are also built for a believer to interpret them in a way that can be visualized or expressed in their everyday life. When we hope for things, the substance of which we hoped for is faith. Sometimes the things we are looking for faithfully, lay beneath the surface... "Its the small things that matter most..." or even the silver linings after a storm. Even if you're not a believer in God, we as a complex species on this planet are NOT meant to wish everyone who do us wrong in life some sort of ill fate. IF THAT WERE THE CASE, this world we live in would be nothing but fires and chaos, and NO ONE WOULD KNOW HOW TO EXPERIENCE JOYOUS THINGS... or even be able to laugh, smile, etc... We'd all be robots who's internal directives are set on "KILL KILL KILL!"

People need to get a grip. In these "uncertain times," there are people who are stuck in a mix, where they don't even agree with their own cliques, but looking desperately for someone to lean on. They're looking for the silver linings, the small things, and little miracles laying beneath the surface in order to find a means to their survival... or even a solution to the problem... but there are others who are constantly throwing the negative on top of their efforts- which just buries the goodness sought even further.

So, with all of that said, it is important to stay on top of everyday issues. It's important to HELP make others aware.

Its also important to understand that not everyone approaches situations as you do, and its important to also be kind about it. Rather than be a deliverer of doom and gloom all the time, learn to understand all sides of a situation in order to help others process. Also... practice being a Beacon of Hope.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." - John 13:34


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