I have a small personal follow-on to Lang Vei, Revisited:
I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting with Paul Longgrear on two occasions. He is charming, witty and fully at ease in his own skin. The last time he spoke a bit about Lang Vei.
When they emerged from their bunker the next day, Paul was severely wounded, and fell backwards into the mud. Unable to go on, his fellows left him, which he said was the correct thing for them to do. However, that left him alone and exposed.
It was then that he heard what he feels to be God speaking to him. The question was very clear: "And what will you do now?" The inquiry was a challenge to go deep within. Somehow, Paul was able to make it onto his feet, and left the camp on his own. At each turning point, the question again arose, "What will you do now?"
It is a great message for us all. In her poem, "Wild Geese," Mary Oliver says,
"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on"
What Paul heard was a call to action. There is no time to tarry. Misery and sadness is surely a portion of the human condition, but the better part is its resilience and triumph over the odds.
Thank you for sharing, Mr. Longgrear.
Labels: paul longgrear