Soldiers

“My late father fought in the Second World War as an enlisted man.  He told me that he discovered what he was up to only after he returned home and read a few books.  In the midst of battle, ignorance and confusion governed.  Knowledge consisted of concrete imperatives: go left, retreat, hold your fire, cross the bridge, walk the road, take the town.  How his deeds furthered some master plan he knew not: there was for him no big picture.  My father could not see the forest because he was a tree.  He just followed orders and tried to stay alive.  Those of us who are religious are like my father.  We know that we are in a war but not how it goes or how it will eventuate; and few of us are generals.  Our lot is rather to be good soldiers – to live according to the imperatives upon us and to save our souls.” – Dale Allison, The Luminous Dusk