Thursday, March 27, 2014

A lot of life is like that...

One of my most vivid memories is from 1968.  I had graduated High School that year, and a few weeks later was off to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis to begin Plebe summer.

Plebe summer at any of the academies used to have several purposes:
  • Teach young high schoolers how to be midshipmen (or cadets),
  • Get them in the "spirit" of the military warfighter,
  • Test their mettle,
  • Run off those who weren't committed to the program.

Or I could summarize this way:
It was one of the toughest 10 weeks of my life.

That said, in the late 1960's, the Naval Academy ended Plebe Summer with "Parent's weekend".  Parents of Plebes were invited to come up, see a parade and learn what the Naval Academy was all about.

My older brother Doug had graduated 3 years earlier, so the Naval Academy was not exactly new to my folks, but in a show of genuine sacrificial love, they drove a bit over 700 miles to see me and celebrate the end of Plebe Summer.

Parent's Weekend ended on Sunday evening with "evening meal formation" in which every midshipman at USNA lined up by companies to march in to the Dining Hall.  I was walking alongside my Dad on that brick, two-lane walkway that stretches like a aircraft runway between the Library and the Bancroft Hall couryard where we formed up.  We were near the famous Tecumseh statue when I remarked to my Dad,  in despair, "  It's just so tough, the same thing day after day!"

"Son", he said, "you'll find that a lot of life is like that."

That wasn't exactly the sympathy I was hoping for in that moment, but you know what?  He was absolutely correct.

Much of life is routine... and that's not always so bad.  What makes life satisfying is NOT the variety.  Variety may be the spice of life, but G^d is the source of meaning, even in the midst of monotony.

And that's the truth!

Thanks Dad.

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