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The Matterhorn (novel)


tariki
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Not really sure if this area was intended for purely secular literature, but I read all sorts and often I'm rewarded in unexpected ways. Maybe like the various parables in the Gospels. Instead of a book being overtly didactic, which can put you on your guard, a lesson creeps up on you unawares, and before you know it, hits you in the face......

 

"You are that man!"...........or something like that..... B)

 

Well, I'm waffling again, but I've just finished a book - a novel - set in the Vietnam war, by a guy called Karl Marlantes. The blurbs were all along the lines of "you won't be able to put this book down", which tended to put me on my guard a bit, as normally I put those sort of books down pretty quickly. (And, as far as the ones that will "keep you up all night", well, have you ever wanted a cure for insomnia?)

 

Anyway, the book was called "Matterhorn", which was the name given to this hill in Vietnam that became the battleground for a while, battles depicted as virtually pointless within the storyline, though many died, on both sides. But one passage really got me, where a black Marine, a guy called Cortell, is speaking with a white comrade. Cortell is the "preacher man" in the story and catches a lot of stick from others. Cortell has recently lost a couple of his real good buddies to the war.

 

Cortell and the white guy, Jermain, are chatting just prior to combat. Jermain asks....."You think we go to heaven when we die?"

 

"I don't think nothin'. I believe Jesus take care of us when we die." Cortell looked at Jermain. "Believin's not thinkin'."

 

There is a little more conversation, then Jermain says......"I don't want to go nowhere but back into the world."

 

"Yeah, I be right there with you," Cortell said. He was silent for a moment. Then he said, "Ever'one here think it easy for me. I be this good little church boy from Mississippi with my good little church-goin' Mammy, and since I be stupid country ###### with the big faith, I don't have no trouble. Well, it just don't work that way." He paused. Jermain said nothing. "I see my friend Williams die," Cortell continued. "I see my friend Boyer get his face ripped off by a mine. What you think I do all night, sit around thankin' Sweet Jesus? Raise my palms to sweet heaven and cry hallelujah? You know what I do? I lose my heart." Cortell's throat suddenly tightened, strangling his words. "I lose my heart." He took a deep breath, trying to regain his composure. He exhaled and went on quietly, back in control. "I sit there and I don't see any hope. Hope gone." Cortell was seeing his dead friends. "Then the sky turn gray again in the east, and you know what I do? I choose all over to keep believin'. All along I know Jesus could maybe be just some fairy tale, and I could be just this one big fool. I choose anyway." He turned away from his inward images and returned to the blackness of the world around him. "It ain't no easy thing.""

 

It just seems to me, reading threads on various forums, that many who seem to have no particular faith accuse "believers" of copping out, taking the easy option. Yet I know in myself that sometimes it can seem the easy option NOT to have trust. When seeing suffering beyond comprehension, to just sweep the hand across it and say it means nothing, can never mean nothing, to wish those who suffer dead so I need not see it or live with it any more.......To be faced with the fact that it CAN mean something, and the obligation such a thought carries........Maybe, the more we see the obligation, the more we see "It ain't no easy thing."

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Tariki,

 

Are you thinkin too much again? smile.gif Just kidding of course.

 

When i am faced with thoughts such as the subject matter of that story and other suffering i am brought back to a realization that i penned some years ago from an experience. Admittedly it is perceived quite 'cold' and appears even 'insensitive' to many but i will take that risk by sharing it with you as "it ain't easy" trusting the experience but it is as real as any. The following came to me complete without words...

 

It is the understanding in this mind that evolution is the continuous unfolding of creation. They are one and the same. Everything in the concept of time eventually returns to its source. Existence is certain whether in or out of form. That which is real is not apparent and perhaps life here should be lived in the moment and taken less seriously and acknowledged for the melodrama it is.

 

There are those who are here to make war and are fighters. There are those who will kill and those to be killed. There are farmers who live to make food. There are politicians who make politics and financiers who make money. There are those who live off their labor and those who live off of others. There are those who are hungry and those who are full. There are those who play games and those who are serious. There are those who save the trees and earth; there are those who save the animals. There are those that take and those who give. There are those who speak and those who are silent. There are leaders and flocks; there are priests and the sage. Each according to his appointment it seems. A most wonderful dance is seen of the universe, with nary a dust speck out of place.

 

What more can I say of these things seen; who source is not readily apparent. Existence itself will speak of the truth as I sit dumbfounded in awe.

 

Joseph

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Good Morning, Tariki...

 

As we walk our own Life Paths, we may find ourselves beginning to question, beginning to think about other explanations, and beginning to understand in a different frame of reference. And, at some time, we discover that we are on a spiritual Journey where those different references, explanations, and questions open up before us providing so many different ways of looking at the same thing. In a culture that centers only on the material and the orthodox, champions the external and sensory, and conditions people to live in state of anxiety and dissatisfaction, any break from the mainstream is suspect and subject to ridicule. Those who accuse " 'believers' of copping out, taking the easy option" have it upside down. To break from this conveyor belt life and thought is not easy and can be most difficult and painful. We can find ourselves struggling with our Faith and hurting as holes open in the fabric of previous comfort. We can find ourselves moving forward and then backward...convinced that we have found the key only to find that we have lost the door. To walk such a Journey takes more courage than to stand, read, and repeat back the same religious creeds and dogmas, the same explanations for life and spirit, over and over. But if the Journey was easy, there would be no point to it then, would there? :lol:

Edited by Quaker Way
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