Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Standing--what does that really mean?

To stand--the dictionary tells me that it comes from the IE root "sta-" to stand, to be placed; to be or remain in a generally upright position, supported on the feet; to remain unchanged; to maintain one's viewpoint, remain resolute. To stand for something then carries with it the understanding that the stander remains in one place, generally upright and resolute, as a soldier would guard a fort. It is tiring to stand--both physically and morally. The legs begin to hurt, next the back, then the neck. Eventually you want to sit down or lie down. But when you stand FOR something, whatever it is--faith, policy, ideology--do you have the luxury to sit? I smile when I read the words 'generally upright,' for perhaps this is answer. If sitting or lying down or quitting is not an option, then maybe being 'generally upright' is. I can't always stand ramrod straight for the things I believe in. I get tired; and bored too. For a season then, I will stand 'generally upright,' maybe leaning against the wall or my weapon or even my neighbor until I am renewed. Until I'm given leave by the commanding officer to take a load off. As the root word says, I've been placed. Not of my own volition certainly, for going willingly and joyously to war is the province of those out of touch with reality or unattached to those left behind. There may be an initial surge of adrenaline--For God and Country, yadda yadda--but it is replaced with the long obedience in the same direction. That becomes a drudgery hard to bear. Glory, however, does not come quickly with showy parades. No, I believe, as Jesus said, it comes in taking up a cross daily and following--through the pain, through the heat and boredom and sweat and general nastiness of duty. Glory may be the destination after the tour of duty. For now, though, it's my turn to be at the sentry post. My CO doesn't ask if I feel like it or want to. He doesn't care about that. There's a job to do, and it's my turn to do it. I could say no--go AWOL or sit down on the job and fall asleep. But who would be there to protect the innocents? If I don't stand and defend the post where I have been placed, the enemy will as surely invade as the sun will rise on my sleeping form. There will be a price to pay, maybe not today, but some day, some tomorrow even into eternity. That's a pressure I can't endure. So even though I want to stop standing, can't see the end in sight, wonder if my CO is crazy, I know that I can't. I guess I'll just lean against the wall for a while in a generally upright position, tired but still on duty.


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