Updated: Aug 27, 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 i