Old Soldiers

Memory fades.  That is, when it’s not faulty to begin with.  In addition, memory can morph into something more akin to fantasy than reality.  The roadways of our minds can be interstate highways or rutted paths depending on traffic.  With consideration, history becomes fixed in the mind while events, people and things disappear over time through neglect.  We lose moments incrementally until memories are completely gone.
I, sometimes, wonder if my reflections are actuals or recreations.  It is true that remembrances of the same events differ from person to person.  While I’m, often, a legend in my own mind, I am as much a disappointment to myself, as well, and wonder at the reflections of others.
Pondering mortality, I agree with Eric Clapton in that “I don’t wanna fade away,” yet that is the fate of mortals regarding earthly life and times.  When we pass this life, some few will grieve and fewer maintain fond remembrances while the deeds of our days will be largely forgotten (by most) in short order.  We will slip into the shadows as surely as sands are rearranged by the tide.
General Douglas McArthur, in his farewell address to Congress, uttered the words of a soldier’s folklore song, “Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away.”  Each of our lives and outrageous personalities will dim with the passage of time.  While it is biblically true that we never die (read cease to exist), to future generations it will be much as if we never lived.  As we all are forgettable, is there anything that will endure beyond ourselves?
A song from my youth spoke to the point, “Only one life, so soon it will pass. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  There is some truth in Shakespeare’s assertion that we are actors on a stage appearing for a brief time and gone. The truth lies in the fact that his quote chimes with scriptural urgings to consider an entire lifetime as a morning mist that vanishes with the waxing day.  The Psalmist asked God to teach him to number his days and recognize frailty.
None of us are the same in our many characteristics.  Physical or more ethereal, we are all unique.  However, we all have the same amount of time.  What will you do with your days, and how will I spend mine?  Looking back, I rue every unfruitful moment.  By that, I’m not referring to time spent resting or in leisurely pursuits.  Such are valuable parts of living.  Rather, I mean moments wasted on lesser things.
Biblically, deeds of consequence will bear fruit unto later days, and eternal efforts will follow the doer into the beyond.  Neither will lack gratitude, though names, places and facts may fade.  In small remembrances of worthwhile efforts, old soldiers never die.
Sterl

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