Thursday, August 31, 2006

"And I think to myself what a wonderful world..."

"And I think to myself....what a wonderful world......"

"Kilroy" loves to laugh....and there is no greater sound if you are lucky enough to know this man. If you only just met this hero, you would have NOOOOOOO idea that the sense of humour, the love of laughter was once a dim memory.

Kilroy is a Vietnam Veteran...a loooooong time friend who I have travelled many miles with... He will tell you his story in a very matter of fact way....Joined in 1969 "because that's what I supposed to do". And then the facts..dates, etc.. a retelling of a military history that has been retold across this continent many times, by many heroes, since those days.

One Christmas sticks out in Kilroy's mind, and if you are priviledged enough to hear him share it, you will know that 1970 was a dark, and lonely time, a bottomless pit of low points. A member of the AF, Kilroy saw heavy action for most of his tour of duty. Like most men of the times, he won't give specifics - he doesn't have to. If you look, and really listen, you can hear what Kilroy keeps to himself.

Kilroy glosses over that preferring instead to focus on the now. He feels really blessed to have made it to his grand 'old' age of 50"Returning stateside in 71" Kilroy was discharged from the service in 1975. To say that his time in Vietnam shaped the man he would become is a gross understament. Like many men of those times, he suffered total PTSD syndrome and developed a close personal relationship with booze. Those two things ruled this man's life for 11 years. In 1986, he bravely entered a treatment centre for his alcoholism and has never looked back. Looking back is not something Kilroy does much by choice. He is totally focussed on the now....As he shares the highs and the lows, it is easy to recognise the strength which it took for Kilroy to reclaim his own life. Along the way, he had children, all grown now. He still lives close by to the small town he was raised in in Lousiana. He has not strayed far from his childhood home, where his mother and father still live. His children all live nearby.

Kilroy is a shining example of what any of us can do if we decide that our life is OURS, and what happens to us, is based on our own choices. An expression he uses often is "based on the information we have at the time".

Kilroy is a voracious reader, seeker. He seeks to understand this world and his place in it. He also works at leaving his world a better place than what he found here. Such is the drive of many heroes. And Kilroy laughs. His laughter takes the sting out of his refusal to accept anything less than the truth from those he cares about. He will call you on anything he sees as not quite real.....He is big on reality. His reality has included much delving into all sorts of religions as he has pursued his own inner peace. And after all the investigation? "Kilroy" will calmy tell you what many never discover. That inner peace, for any of us, is not to be found 'out there', but is totally within, inner.. This simple discovery has enabled Kilroy to live his life at peace with himself. From that peace, comes the freedom to laugh. Easy with articulating his version of spirituality, Kilroy will happily talk for hours on God's place in his life. And you have to respect his view. This is a man who has travelled to hell and back....and gained an understanding of himself and his fellow man. Did I mention Kilroy fervently believes in angels? Angel he does , and tells stories about the major role angels have played in his life. He sees, acknowledges that angels in his life have given him much, so much that he describes himself as a 'giver'. No many heroes, when asked (and sometimes when he is not asked) he steps up to give of himself. Always guided by a strong moral principle about what is the 'right thing' to do....From the efforts of such gentle men are great nations born. Oh, and if you listen really closely? That sound of laughter echoing down the wind? Is probably my friend Kilroy. Thank you thank you my peaceful warrior. This Angel is honoured to call you 'friend' - to share and bask in your silly with you..This Angel loves you - always....
"Every soldier is one of our own"


Georgia Blogger