Waltzing to Paradise, I Stumbled into Hell
The smell of the desert was powerful and magnetic that Sunday morning in Namibia’s Ovamboland! My battalion was taking a break in the war-zone, everyone was lounging around enjoying a cigarette or a beer and chatting about our loved ones at home. I was sprawled in the shade of my tent, enjoying a hot cup of coffee, its aroma seeping into my eager brain… Mmm…, life was good!
Suddenly though, the giant figure of my Sergeant-Major was looming menacingly before me.
“Gaby”, “Your day of rest is the Sabbath, is it not? Yesterday, it being your Sabbath, you refused to work with us, not so?”
“Yes Sir”, I replied once again, this time gloomily, because suddenly I knew I was screwed!
“Great”, said the malevolent grin of the Sergeant-Major, “grab a shovel and dig a trench all around our camp.” My fellow soldiers started laughing their heads off...
Inside, I wanted to bawl like a spoiled baby monkey that just had a banana stolen from him, instead:-
“Yes, Sir”, I said as I got up, found a shovel, took my shirt off[At 19 years, and a bodybuilder, I had a fantastic physique in those days…], started whistling a happy tune and started digging…
At first my fellow soldiers were full of sarcastic advice about how to go about digging the trench, wide grins on their faces. I, wordlessly and stoically dug on, as the sun covered my muscles with a shiny sheen of sweat…
After half an hour or so though, an incredible thing happened. One of the guys got up, grabbed the shovel out of my hands and continued to dig for me. Next thing I knew, there was a line of guys waiting to take their turn to dig the trench for me…
The Sergeant-Major, who was watching this spectacle, very quickly lost his crocodile grin. He came up to me, grabbed me by the arm and led me to his tent.
“Oh G-d”, I thought, now I’m really screwed!
“Coffee?”, he said as he poured us each a ‘cuppa’.
“I’ve been a soldier for a long time now, Gaby,” said he, “and I must say instead of crying like a stuck-pig, which I thought you would, you took your punishment like a man. I can see you have a good heart Gaby, because even though we’re in a war zone in a foreign country, you’re here with us, refusing to carry a rifle and to kill, yet always first to volunteer for any job no matter how dangerous, and the other guys have seen that too, and out of respect for who you are at heart, they’re standing by you today. Be thankful for that Son.”
Wow! I was filled with gratitude and I was glowing with pride at such high praise. Finally, the moral of the story:-
Sometimes on our way to Paradise, we will slip through an unfamiliar door and find ourselves in hell! That’s real life. It happens. When it does my dear friends, don’t despair:-
‘Take your shirt off, grab the shovel and start singing a happy tune’, cause then, your energy changes and the merciful Universe comes to your aid and takes you by the hand and puts you back on the Path to Paradise!
I love you all, as always!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Posted: Jun 2014