… This is all just one big non-stop training exercise so that we have half a chance of learning what we need to know for real life – that is eternity.
So, WORKUPS. After a period of rest and refit, we enter into an intensive predeployment workup. The personnel have received new training, the ships get repaired, maintained and re-equiped (refitted) hopefully with newer better tools and equipment – or maybe not, if the goal of the civilian ministers and directors, the previously mentioned 5th column, is to atrit and deplete to free up funding for their favorite pig farm.
Where the right hand is blathering about commitments and duty and Ready Aye Ready, but the left hand is strangely refusing to supply enough fuel for deployment or enough personnel to crew the ships, or … well you get the drift …
We the willing, lead by the unknowing, doing the impossible, for the ungrateful,
Have done so much, with so little, for so long,
We are now expected to do everything, with nothing, forever …
Workups …, such fun, a team of highly trained saboteurs and sadists descend upon the newly minted unit with the express goal of exposing all their sins and weaknesses. And through a continuous, 24 hour a day, series of drills and simulated missions and disasters and mixed mayhem and abuse they drive the new unit, men and equipment to the outer limit of their ability to perform.
All the while timing and taking notes and punishing as they see fit until the point is reached where the unit has matured and bonded and coped with everything to meet or exceed the standards expected. This can go on for weeks, over and over and over, in the case of particularly obtuse crews. Until that magical day when you are declared fit to deploy with some expectation that you will not embarrass your masters. I remember “Hard Training, Easy Missions” from somewhere, probably imprinted at a cellular level by some screaming CPO.
And that is exactly what “Life” is. Workups and exercises until you learn the right way to conduct yourself. And the problems and challenges will keep being thrown at us until the light comes on and we learn what we are supposed to learn. Over and over, until we get it. Some get it fast, some get it slow. Some do not appear to get it at all … but we cannot observe exactly what transpires about the time of death.
I have it on good authority that God is smarter than I and He operates outside our conscious reality. At this stage of life I am not inclined to doubt that and I put down things I don’t understand to “not having all the information” or perhaps to simply not being able to operate at that level – I am fairly certain that if I think I understand things then I really don’t. Every challenge, every nasty situation, every abusive word or difficulty, every challenge, yes, every vampire and zombie, even them, every goal and ambition, every need and want, every opportunity and failure, every joy and hurt, are all exercises in learning to sacrifice and love … selflessly.
“. . . the pain itself made Puddleglum’s head for a moment perfectly clear and he knew exactly what he really thought. . . ‘One word, Ma’am,’ he said, coming back from the fire; limping,. . . ‘One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have [have is in italics in the novel] only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is [is is in italics in the novel] the only world. Well, it strikes as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”
― C.S. Lewis