The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another which will last forever

Anatole France

The first time I ever read Anatole France’s words, I believed they were quite profound. After reading his words we can essentially ask ourselves what kind of person is it that we want to be. Contemplate then, if we could live forever, would we ever have need for purpose in what we do, who we are and what we’ll be? Would it ever matter at all?

How about having a finite life? Wouldn’t the opposite of having an infinite life mean that we must have a purpose in the things that we do? Or does that even matter at all?

What if we could live for a thousand years, or a million years? Wouldn’t these milleniums be the same thing as living for 100 years because all three have a beginning and an ending? No different from living from a hundred I suppose. We still live, we still die no matter the length of time given to us.  But, what good is it to live forever it we don’t even know what it is that we want to do? Wouldn’t that be a hell?

Wake, Eat, Drink, Sleep, Wake, Eat, Drink, Sleep…why bother? But it seems to me that if we have a finite life, whether it’s for a hundred years or a thousand, that having an ending allows us some purpose. If we are finite, if our life is brief in the scope of things, wouldn’t it be great to contemplate the infinite, and wonder exactly what is it that we must do while we’re here?

*Little Big Man Movie

I have to ask this question: If life has a purpose, what kind of person is it that you want to be and what do you want to be remembered for?

200 years ago, Chief Tecumseh (1768-1813) the Native American leader of the Shawnee tribe, left us his Meditations:

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Anyone who has ever seen the Navy Seal movie Act of Valor will recall the voice over spoken by I believe LCDR Roarke Denver. It’s spoken at the end of the movie and his words comes from this Meditation by Chief Tecumseh. In the movies’ final scene, we hear Denver’s disembodied voice, as he reads Tecumseh’s poem. At the same moment we hear Roarke’s words the camera allows us into his kitchen. His wife is reading a letter with Tecumseh’s poem scribbled upon it. Her infant, seated in a high-chair, is busily eating while tears are falling down her cheekbones. The wife who loves her husband is devastated by his loss and yet at the same moment is encouraged by those words she reads. His son will one day become a man and know that his father lived by a code of honor. He will read the letter left his father left for him.

The movie Act of Valor had real Navy SEALs in it rather than actors so it is understandable if the acting was a bit stilted but the story itself was fantastic; especially the ending scene. I clearly remember reading the visceral chapters of Marcus Luttrell’s book. How the heck can people on Rotten Tomatoes even rate it as 6.6/10? Really? But those words spoken by Roarke Denver illuminate the disparity between men like the Navy SEALs and then the rest of the world that aspires to live smaller lives. I am not disparaging people who do not seek out difficulty in life. Many people experience difficulty without ever having served a day in the military. I am simply asking people to find a higher purpose, to question deeply what it is they believe, and then to try and obtain it despite the path to it being fraught with difficulties.

Joe Carnahan from the movie the Grey

I’ve been sitting on Tecumseh’s Meditation article for about 6 months now. Just too massive to handle. I mean, how do you take something as simple and profound as what Tecumseh wrote, how do you parse it down into something that can express what he meant and how he felt? You just can’t. Tecumseh wrote his words to live by for his people. These are words that continue to resonate with us 200 years later. If you were to write your own meditations what would they be and who would you write them for?

Live fast, die young? Or something with a lot more weight? Reading or hearing words can amplify how we are feeling:

Words have the power to move us into cold silences and into feelings of immeasurable delight. Words in some way can more easily describe and define how we are hurting. Words allow us to feel nourished or make us feel like dying. Words can make us feel anger: “Out of my face punk!” or “You want some of me!!!?” Words can comfort in times of loneliness and can make us feel cynical. Why not create words that remind us to remain youthful in how we see the world and to feel that every moment is ripe for opportunity? Why not write words that reassure others to not lose heart, why not write words to inspire? Why not leave behind words that give comfort to those after we are gone? Words to give courage to soldiers, officers, fire-fighters when things are tough, words to give direction, and for leaving peace in the heart of loved-ones. Who would you leave them for? The men of your unit, your mother, your sons and daughters?

Patton’s last words were, “This is a hell of a way to die.” But he left behind many words of encouragement and never stopped at trying to motivate others

Perhaps there’s something to be said for men who wake at dawn and wash their faces down by the river. They see the sun rise and a deer move herself through green wood-lines. They cross cold streams and brown prairies and raise their head to the sound of the lark. In the early morning they embrace the quiet. There is a humble awe for nature and they feel closer to God.

I don’t promote the idea of deism. I promote here the idea of leaving a letter, a note, a tangible something that others can hold onto when you are gone; they are words for your children, for your great-great grandchildren, they are words for others to discover as well. What is your love song for the world? What is your legacy going to be? Let them know the depths of your heart and what they meant to you. Let them know you stood up for something and yet had peace in your heart for men.

by Hannibal the Great

Those who are often engrossed in the hustle and bustle of city life often don’t give themselves the chance to stop and reflect on the importance of life. We all want a moment of leisure, a fraction of time, in order to tune out the noise, and tune into the things that matter.

Those who are able to rise with the sun and get a morning run in get a chance to do this very thing. Those who reflect as the dawn rises, who become introspective as the night comes may have a longing for doing purposeful things.

Like Chief Tecumseh they reflect on the things that are notable. If you get a chance how about writing a letter to your family. You might not be a patrolman, a Marine, a Soldier, or a fire-fighter but don’t let hardships stop you from writing something that tells your children the theme of your life and how they should live theirs. Don’t let that stop you from telling your children and their children words to live by. You may not have a second chance. Perhaps write something simple that they will remember you by:

Son,

Be patient, be strong, encourage others, don’t ever buck your commitments, live your life and not the life of others, give more than you take, stand up for what you believe in, love more than you are loved, stay humble and honor God.

It takes a moment to tune out the noise and tune into the things that are important.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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*”Come out and fight! It is a good day to die! Thank you for making me a Human Being! Thank you for helpin’ me to become a warrior! Thank you for my victories and for my defeats! Thank you for my vision, and the blindness in which I saw further! You make all things and direct them in their ways, O Grandfather. And now you have decided the Human Beings will soon walk a road that leads nowhere. I am gonna die now, unless death wants to fight. And I ask you for the last time to grant me my old power to make things happen.” ~Chief Lodge Skins, Little Big Man movie

 

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About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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