Tyler Fouché
"To the 'more' of love – the real revolution."

Reflections from a War Zone

Banksy Girl and Heart Balloon/There is Always Hope (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

I imagined that closer proximity to conflict and death would bequeath me with a handful of revelatory insights about life and being alive; that witnessing and feeling the fear of bloodshed and war would unveil hitherto undisclosed truths about this grand existence, this human ride, about my own mortality and finitude.

Yet, these protracted moments of embodied angst and uncertainty, of unpredictable unpredictabilities, of the gradual unraveling of life’s everyday patterns and routines, of the creeping dissolution of the illusion of control and the paling of personal and professional goals, seems to only piercingly scream out what the world was whispering all along:

That this human project that we belong to is oh so fragile and delicate

That family forever family

That what truly matters is being, sitting and sharing with those you love

That our part in this collective human ensemble demands of us to be kinder and more empathetic than we think we ought to

That memories are most of what we got

That we can mourn and grieve those we have never met

That the subtle sound of soil absorbing water is life affirming

That experiencing a baby laugh and a child giggle is life reaffirming

That sometimes we are blinded by sight

That cricket commentary is where it’s at

That being present is sacred

That “the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

That it shouldn’t be that one knows the weighted discomfort of a bullet-proof helmet or the cool metal grip of a loaded rifle

That decisions made by appointed officials should not infiltrate or taint the fabric of our personal connections

What is it about the human psyche and soul that a face-to-face encounter with our very perishability and transience is the necessary precondition to extend ourselves beyond ourselves, to reflect on where we place value and meaning, to remind us that we are inherently interconnected?

Why are moments of precarity, of the instantaneous crumbling of our taken-for-granted certainties necessary to awaken us to the knowing

that having people to count on is a desired measure of wealth

that there is more that binds us than we dare admit

That taking off your socks and shoes at the day’s end and wiggling your toes is an act to behold

That when your favorite song comes on, it sort of feels like enough

That there is freedom in enough

That there is enough for everyone

That the sun shining on your face is a sensory experience to be cherished

That biting into a sumptuous sandy nectarine is an exhilarating blessing

That we desperately need a more hospitable, attentive, nuanced language to re-imagine how we are to be with one another

That hugs, loves and snuggles are healing antidotes to life’s inevitable passages of time

That being able to ask your neighbor for an egg is the start of something

That “we lose our way in fear and pain”

That “’if more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world’

That it is both a luxury and privilege to age

As we stand perched at the edge of the precipice of our collective being, as we continue to navigate the ebbs and flows of this human endeavor, I viscerally recall Faulkner’s poignant inconsolable lament:

“Between grief and nothing I will take grief.”

Me as well..

Works Referenced

Khalil Gibran. 1923. The Prophet. Published: Alfred A. Knopf.

Dave Matthews Band. 2018. Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin). Come Tomorrow.

JRR Tolkien. 1937. The Hobbit. Published: George Allen & Unwin.

William Faulkner. 1939. The Wild Palms. Published: Penguin Random House.

About the Author
Having grown up in Johannesburg South Africa, Tyler currently lives in Israel. A sociologist by training, he now works in the field of sustainability and environmental peacebuilding. Reading, walking, writing, family, yoga, dips in the ocean and interactions with individuals are what feeds his intellectual, emotional and creative spirit.
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