The Unfairness of Living in a War Zone

Robert Terson

We all live with stress.  No matter how much we’re told to smell the roses, the everyday difficulties of life, real or imagined, cause us to feel like the walls are closing in on us. “The pressure, the pressure!” the man cries out as his fingernails press hard into his temples; he feels like his brain is about to explode. Yet, compared to the life-threatening realities of some people, most of us have it knocked. If you don’t think so, let me tell you a story that my wife shared with me.

Nicki works in a hospital. She’s worked there for over 32 years. In late June one of her coworkers, a single-parent woman, who was visibly shaken, told Nicki about what had happened to her son; I’m guessing he’s in his late teens or early 20s.  They live in a suburban area of Chicago that can only be described as a war zone: gang activity, crime, constant danger. The young man, who is a model citizen, was grabbed by a gang of toughs and dragged to a location where they put a gun to his head and…pulled the trigger; THEY DID THIS FOR SPORT!

The gun jammed, thank God. A woman came along, screamed, and the gang of toughs ran. So did the young man—to safety, his heart pounding like a jackhammer.

The next day he went to work, a retail establishment, and told his boss what had happened. He told him how harrowing the experience had been, how frightened he was. He asked the boss to walk the two blocks home with him after work; for a few days until things cooled down.  The boss refused; he didn’t want to get involved, he told him. (There are no heroes in this story.)

Not only did he not want to get involved, he decided that the young man couldn’t work there anymore. Just like that, out of his own fear, he fired the kid. So now our protagonist has not only been “shot” at, he’s lost his job to boot.

How does that compare to the stress you’re experiencing today?

There is no comparison, is there?

It isn’t fair, but, then, life isn’t fair, it just is.

The young man in the war zone is determined to succeed, despite the unfairness of what he’s burdened with. There are countless individuals in other war zones succeeding despite their burdens, too.

I want you to keep this story in mind when you start feeling stressed because there’s just so much on your plate.  If you haven’t lost your job because the boss is frightened of the neighborhood toughs, if you haven’t been shot at, perhaps you’re making more out of what’s happening than you think.

What do you think?