One More Day

May 15th, 2009

Ever felt like you just can’t make it one more day?  I mean if you REALLY didn’t know if you could hold on one more day.  I can recall several times in my life where it’s either been me or someone close to me that had serious doubts about their future. There was a man I knew in the military who was having an especially hard time adjusting to the daily battles we had to face.  I remember one night in particular when after a long day of marching, field exercises and whatever else we were doing, we had finally gotten to bed, due to be woken up just a few short hours later.  I had just gotten to sleep in my rack at the end of a long open bay when from somewhere in the middle of one of the rows I heard the distinct sounds of sobs coming from one of the men.

There were the shouts of “Shut Up!”, “Knock It OFF!”  coming from various places in the dark and I knew that I needed to get up and find out who it was and what was wrong.  Feet hurting and back aching I trudged my way down the rows to find Beaker down on his knees beside his rack sobbing.

I knelt down beside him not fully knowing what to do but I put my arm around his shoulder, hung my head resting it on the side of the bed and asked him what was wrong.  Through the tears and sobs I was able to make out that he just couldn’t take it anymore.  Seemingly, his weak body and frail mind just couldn’t take another single day of the training that was supposed to make the boy into a man.  He couldn’t take another push-up, another gorilla drill, another forced march, another common task, another inspection.  He was broken.  He had lost hope to become something bigger than he was.

But I remembered.  I remembered just a few short weeks before I had made a phone call home one late evening and talked to my dad.  I too had reached the end of my rope.  I told my dad how I was going to go AWOL because it just was too hard and I wasn’t cut out for this type of thing.  And my dad gave me some advice that I use even to this day.  “Just give it one more day son.” , he said.  My dad came along side me even from long distance and gave me something to hold onto.  A day passes.  Trials come and go.  “And this too shall pass”, he told me.  It did.  I made it through that night and the next day, so I passed it along to Beaker.

“Come on, man”, I said.  “Give it one more day.  We’ll get through this together.”

I’m sure he still hurt physically and mentally as he crawled into bed and I shuffled back to mine.  But those thirty minutes might have been the defining moment in his life when he needed to matter.  You need to matter.  He left such an impact on my life just as my dad left an impact on mine and I’m so thankful that both were there so I could receive from one a hope and I could pass it on to another.

Beaker thought he couldn’t make it another moment. He was on the very edge and about to go over.  Much like me, he was hastily making plans to run, escape, go AWOL, perhaps even worse.  Are you there at that edge?  I’ve been there.  Suicide? Running? Hiding? Do they seem like real options for you?  Hang in there just one more day.  Maybe all you can do is hold on one more hour or one more minute.  But take that pain and hang in there.  Yes, it’ll hurt.  No, it might not get immediately easier.  But it will change as time passes.

After that talk with my dad I ended up with more than eight years in the military before I “pulled the pin” and got out.  Beaker also successfully completed his training and went on to a career although I really don’t know what happened to him.  Hang in there.  Don’t quit.  Try and make it just one more day.

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One Response

  1. Anonymous Says:

    wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it…again, you amaze me.

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