Thursday, July 18, 2013


Hey All,        It amazes me sometimes that there are people who step forward to help others.  I can't really say why this so.  Maybe, it's because of all the bad things we hear and see in our world everyday.......that makes me full of doubt and frequently apprehensive of my fellow man.
    Fort Lewis Washington, 1980.  Henry was a head taller than my 5'9", was muscular and was half again as wide at the shoulders than me.   He was a was of Spanish descent with a black mustache, brown eyes and  spoke with a  gentle, soft voice.   I was to learn that Henry had not only a strong physical presence..........but had a calm, deep inner strength that I had come to appreciate and admire.
     One Friday after chow, Henry came to the room that I shared with a couple other soldiers and wanted to talk.  He wanted me to join him at the local Post Gym to workout and then spar in the boxing ring.  I stared at him in amazement.  "Are you kidding?' I asked.  "I can't compete with you. I'm nowhere near as strong as you are, you have longer arms and you outweigh me by Fifty pounds!  I get in one lucky punch and you'll kick my ass"!  Henry said, "you have to change the way you are looking at this.  You have already lost the fight because you believe you have lost before it starts.  Nothing has guaranteed ending."  I replied " Henry, why don't you find someone else who is a little more your size and weight'?  Henry then said, " you need to learn how to fight and protect yourself.  These guys will leave you alone, when they realize that you will and can fight back. You can't always rely on your speed to keep you safe.  So, after breakfast tomorrow morning, we'll go to the Gym, workout with weights and then spar a few rounds.  Don't worry, they have boxing gloves and protective headgear."  I just looked at him......I didn't know what to say. He was going to teach me how to defend myself.  I didn't know why he was involving himself........except that maybe he saw that I needed a little help and direction.  "You won't get mad if I hit you?" I questioned.  Henry said," No. I promise I won't get mad".  I shrugged my shoulders and sighed, "OK, but I'm not so sure this is a good idea".
     Saturday morning, Henry and I ate breakfast together in the Mess Hall.  We worked out in the gym and then put on the boxing gear and my lessons began.  At the end of our workout,  I could barely hold my arms up.  We spent other days training and talking.  I had become stronger, bigger and more confident in myself.  Even after Henry went home, I still continued training.  Henry was right.  The day came...........  all that  I needed to do was stand my ground.  Once it was realized that I would fight..............the harassment stopped.
     Henry chose to intervene and help someone that he barely knew.   Aside from teaching self defense......he also instilled in me a sense of compassion to be shown toward others. I learned that strength in not limited to the human should be in your heart and character too.  The knowledge that just because you can hurt someone because of your size or should only do so in defense of yourself.................or even  the defense a stranger.  I don't know how Henry got to be so wise, but, I'm thankful he was willing to share.   Henry...............thank you for being one of my teachers.
    . The person you become is the sum total of the impact of the people in your life, lifes' experiences and how you react and respond to them.  We are better and  can be more than what we see in the News media. Remember this when you interact with someone, especially our children.  I can state for certain that good can be taught and learned.   That you have a chance to make a huge difference in a life ..............that will be felt by a heart in need.................... and seen by Gods eyes. 
                Until next time........................God Bless.

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