In those rare silent moments of life, where my thoughts are free to go to my soul's darkest retreats, I often ponder what makes a good life and where mine lives against that ideal. A life stretched to its limits is not lived in peace and serenity. It involves feeling the extremes of emotions, with a good dose of self-examination and a backlog of tales to impress your friends. Yet, stretching to those extremes invites loss. It invites fear. It invites the darkest demons of our nature to rise to the surface. It beckons us right to the line between healthy and dangerous, and rarely tells us when to stop.
Brilliant. First of all, thank you for your service, Latham. I'm a Japanese citizen, and when 3.11 happened, I was staring at the news with disbelief and horror in Michigan, feeling so frustrated that I couldn't do anything to help Fukushima people. I cannot even imagine what it was like to actually live and save people through the meltdown. I especially liked these sentences: "Those dreams, a mix of nightmare and pride, may never release their grip on me." and Doolittle analogy. Your writing style reminds me of Joan Didion. She said, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." Thank you for sharing your story. It must have taken a lot of time, energy, and struggles to even start writing this piece.
"stretching to those extremes invites loss"
"I often reflect on my time in the Navy. We make sense of our lives through stories. I’m still figuring out how those flights fit into mine."
"I still don’t know whether the pride I felt was more about getting to be the hero or getting to help people."
"I don’t offer them the opportunity to know me."
"I conquered my fears over and over, but I’ve forgotten what I am interested in, what I care about, and who I am."
This essay has so many gems; there's so much here that could be mined further via short stories and longer-form writing that plenty could relate to. Solid stuff and I look forward to reading more. 🙌
Thank you. You and all the many international helpers who were there doing, while we watched.
Your story is so well written, I wouldn't know where to start with the hope that you will be around many years to continue to share. Stay healthy. From there all else becomes possible.
wow. This was so powerful. I clicked on this after reading your welcome email. May you always stay healthy.