A friend shared an article on Facebook this morning that really spoke to me. Not in the way that I felt inspired and alive, but in that way someone nearby is yakking and just won’t shut up. It was from a commencement speech given by a navy seal. It was a list of life lessons, totally appropriate and necessary life stuff for college graduates, taken from the man’s personal experiences training to be a navy seal.
I’m not sure why the article spoke to me, all I know is the more the guy talked about the torture of training, the grueling cold water, lack of sleep, superiors breaking down the spirit trying to get them to quit, the more I started to wonder if I was, in fact, training to be a navy seal right now. I know I don’t always read the papers that come home from school in the backpacks, or the mail, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t signed up for that.
I know what you’re thinking, Beth, you’re not swimming! You’re right, I can’t. My body hasn’t recovered yet enough from it’s birth experience. I do have periods of intense cold, followed by intense sweating, I’ve lost all body temperature regulation, apparently. I don’t have a military superior. My superior is about 8lbs, give or take some ounces, and he is relentless. He assures I never sleep for more than an hour and a half, no matter how I plead with him and beg, he is relentless in his pursuit of whatever it is he is pursuing. Who can know? He needs held and not just held, held while you stand and walk around. Don’t sit, it’s not allowed unless he’s sound sleep. If I start eating a meal or planning an outing, he has radar for that and demands in his way that I cease that activity and attend to him. The last few days, his 3 year old associate has assisted him in the torture. He’s has strep, and therefore lost the ability to use language skills and has resorted to constant whining and crying. It has driven the sleep deprived to near insanity. This morning as I bathed the admiral and his captain, the crying was pretty outstanding. It continued post bath and into the captains efforts playing fruit ninja on the kindle. The whining and crying pushed me to the brink of madness and I found myself pleading with him, “For the love of all that’s holy please just USE YOUR WORDS and ask for help instead of whining!! After crying steadily through the maritime bathing episode, the admiral was laying on my bed while I navigated the waters of fruit ninja with the captain. I walked back I to the bedroom to find him strangely calm, as though his captains efforts to drive me insane were pleasantly soothing and had pleased him greatly.
The navy seal spoke at one point in his commencement speech about being buried to the neck in mud. One of the candidates began to sing. It became infectious. Others started singing and despite warnings from the superiors that they’d regret it, they continued and found the strength to continue on. That happened here too, when Steven returned from taking the kids to school and came bearing Starbucks and donuts. Coffee and sugar, the admiral may not like that, but you know what, my fellow seal candidate and I needed it to make it to the next obstacle.
Will we ring the bell? Will we throw in the towel and walk away from seal training? I might, if I could find the bell. I don’t think we have one. Maybe the admiral had his captain hide it, or possibly one of the other officers aboard this ship.
Survival is not guaranteed. The weak need not apply.