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  I recently watched two tv dramatizations of war all the way through. The first was Band of Brothers and the second was Pacific. Why? Because I wanted to understand something in myself. I'm no hero. For these people certainly were heroic in all they faced and went through in an intense period of time. But today is delivering up conditions similar inside the head, hands and hearts of people all around the world. What am I talking about?   The long stare I finally understood that stare. The one you see these people have after engaging in life or death struggles. I see the actors portraying the emotion that is essential to understanding what they just faced and survived. It's all in that stare. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, I see this and I understand it now. Not because of being in the very same situation as them. No! But because I have experienced the effects that reproduce that stare. Here is what I am talking about. My life has been one of providing for my family. The sole bread winner. Things, lots of things, did not go as hoped for in the ambition of life, my life. In fact nothing it seems ever works out like I plan, or set out to do. I've been a care giver, bread winner, worker, supporter, teacher, planner, lover and more all balled up and rolled into the mess that is me. Along my road I've taken care of my wife through cancer, surgeries, pain management, depression, constant illnesses and battles with other people who though they knew what I needed to do with my life. I've raised my granddaughter, aided my daughter, in my late forties and through the my fifties. Through things I cannot talk of here. My very essence has taken a beating. My values torn. But love held fast to keep these loved ones close to me and alive. I used to shrug it all off. I could do this. But I can't, not without the help and comfort that a life a Christian can ask for from their God provides. My friends have aided me, comforted me, encouraged me and supported me. I have been able to do the same for some of them. Along the way I met the stare and wondered about it. Not any more. You see inside the stare I have found the following. The modern conditions of living are like a battle for each of us. With this battle comes the conditions that beat us down, hurt us, change us, force us into pain and more. They are unseen forces that always task us, try us, test us and more. Here are the  main ones I am talking about.   The stress of... Others and their demands and expectations that they place upon you. I am supposed to be able to do certain things, that others cannot. When I don't do them I come under pressure to conform. To deliver. To be that person they imagine. The stress comes from the unending of it all, the expectations of others. All very real. Self and the demands and expectations you and I place upon ourselves. Since I am capable of more, I expect to be and do more, but I am getting to that place where I can't and don't want to at all. Stress tears the soul, and we never see these tears until often too late.   The anxiety of... Always being pushed to hard for too long without relief in sight. Work, that place of swapping hours for dollars. Along with the attendant benefits that keep us coming back. That work that creates anxiety and uncertainty in us all. Asking ourselves have we done enough, are we good enough and more. Until the body starts to break down, and the attendant pains come on to warn you of other needs. The anxiety is always present, at home at work at life all the time.   The fear of... Failing to overcome the conditions that surround you, and giving in to the great grey mush. Time will pass you over and eventually you give up, give in and give yourself over to the nothing. I hate the idea of that. The fear of failing. In all we do there is the possibility of loss. But losing our livelihood, our income our loved ones.

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