The Search for Love, Victory, and Happier Times
I love the film Gone With the Wind – the sweeping landscapes, gorgeous costumes, snappy dialogue and longing – the incessant longing for love, land, victory, and happier times. And after so many years, why is there does it still appeal? Mostly due to the internal struggle of a woman – the unmitigated selfishness of Scarlett pitted against her incredible strength, a strength greater than any of the other women represented in the film.
It is too bad that war and its devastating results aren’t as romantic or endearing as Margaret Mead’s epic tale of the life during the Civil War. Yes, it is tragic in the movie, but the grand nature, beautiful colors, and endless honor displayed somehow play against the contrast of love and hate, as well as politics and idealism, making it seem worthy. War has affected most of our lives whether it was a grandfather or father in World War I or II, a brother or uncle in Korea or Vietnam, or other relative, husband or wife, son or daughter, brother or sister in a more recent conflict(s). War touches and destroys lives and land, values and families. And yet, it seems to always be present or looming.
It sadly seems to be the way of man.
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Protecting Our Humanity
As citizens of the world, what exactly would or should be our charge? There is a spot deep within each of us that war cannot touch. That is the place we need to protect, to cherish, and nourish. I think on this – and often – because my son just turned sixteen and my daughter is seventeen and every generation whose cheek they have kissed has been touched by war. Their great-grandfather fought in World War II. One grandfather was in the National Guard and another fought in the Korean War, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps. A great-uncle served as a Green Beret dispatched on numerous secret missions and another in the Army. And their father’s brother currently serves as a Captain in the Marine Corps. Of course, there is pride. Of course, there is patriotic gratitude. But at what cost? And how will they be touched, my children, their generation?
I tremble and quake at the thought.
It isn’t romantic. It is where deepest fears reside. Where hearts are slaves to devotion and tragedy. I am just one woman, one mind – there is very little I can do. So I strive for kindness in my home, to lessen the bickering of my children and try to instill in them an unconditional love of family and land, but in an open and devoted way, with no selfish holds or bias. And I want the same for my place of employment. Happiness just makes sense to me. It doesn’t for everyone, but it just does to me.
Content vs. Contention
Content (happy, satisfied, pleased) – Contention (conflict, debate, quarrel). How can these words be so similar and mean such complete opposites? I miss the Golden Rule. It always seemed so simple to me. And it was. It is. And it has to start somewhere, by someone. Yes, it’s corny. Yes, it’s old-fashioned. But it is meshed into the psyche of most men in the form of a universal code of ethics. You don’t trip an old lady. You don’t kill a butterfly. You don’t beat a dead horse. I hope this one isn’t yet dead.
Doing good isn’t as easy as doing well. Does that mean it isn’t possible? Something worth thinking about and acting upon, I believe.
by Rayanne Thorn