A Reflection on Struggle and Opportunity
Today is the active recovery part of my relatively new three-day rotational physical training program. I look forward to it. I start the day with a morning speed hike. It provides me sustained time outdoors as I wander roads and pathways, and allow myself time to clear my mind, open my senses, and do some thinking. Now and then that clarity of mind and subsequent thinking leads to inspiration, today being one of those glorious days.
This morning is chilly and dry, with overcast skies and a light breeze. Yet there are storm clouds on the horizon. These indicators could portend rain and wind, a cloudy day, or even an actual thunderstorm. As I kept a steady near-4 MPH pace (faster than the standard Marine Corps Infantry 3.5 MPH for forced marches), these storm clouds did not worry me, or cause me any sort of physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual discomfort whatsoever. Instead, they brought a sense of joy and purpose to my soul.
During my hike, I considered the storm clouds on the horizon in esoteric and philosophical terms. In one sense, the storm clouds on the horizon portend disaster or crisis. But I see them as merely a challenge, a struggle, and a welcome one at that. Without challenges, men cannot rise to their potential. Without obstacles, there is nothing to overcome. Without the 12 Labors, there is no Hercules (for details, see note below). In other words, men without struggles are not afforded opportunities to test themselves, excel, grow, improve, and – ultimately – conquer themselves.
In a practical and very basic sense, I witness struggle every day on my little homestead. Male cardinals compete with each other for the attention of the few females. Blue jays compete with robins and other birds. All birds compete with the tree rats (squirrels) for food in feeders, or scattered about on the ground. Raccoons and foxes vie for other types of food, and both try to remain unseen by human eyes. Deer compete with humans by delighting in eating the sweet blossoms of planted flowers, or the delectable bounty of garden fruits and vegetables, not to mention their struggle to avoid hunters.
Those who overcome that daily struggle are rewarded with an opportunity to become stronger, live another day, procreate, provide for and grow their flock or herd, and extend the life of their group. Those who fail to meet the challenge take their respective positions on the food chain. As it is with our fur, or feather-covered friends, so too is it with men.
As for the storm clouds on the horizon, they challenge me, and provide for me a struggle from which I have an opportunity to improve myself and my family. Certain things need to be done ahead of any storm. In this case, there is ample opportunity to refine stocks, minimize or eliminate gaps in our emergency preparation, and generally review our situation with an eye towards improvment. Today, I will do just that, with a cheery heart, for this pending challenge is helping me to be, and to do, better.
Less tangibly, there are storm clouds on the horizon for us all, both as men, and as members of the Mannerbund. Whether those individual storm clouds portend ill health and sickness, economic strife, a partial or complete breakdown of civil order, or the imposition of martial law, no one truly knows. But each of these separate thunderheads together, forms the great storm that is roaring in toward us over the horizon.
These storm clouds on the horizon will challenge us in ways we may not even understand or envision. Still, each presents us with opportunities to improve ourselves and strengthen the bonds between us as men, heads of households, and members of our tribe. What will we do with this opportunity? Will we become overwhelmed by the struggle and succumb to anxiety and depression? Will we wallow in imagined misery? Or will we meet this challenge head-on like men of the Mannerbund?
Individually we are strong. We would not be here if we were not. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, and we readily admit these, and share them with our brothers. We also share the burdens, and the weight of the struggle, together, as a community of brothers. In this way, we will not only weather this storm, we will come out of it stronger and better prepared for the next storm.
Make no mistake – after this storm passes, there will be more. That is why I am not saddened, anxious, or afraid. I will use this storm to test my mettle and make improvements where I am weak, share my strength with my brothers, and contribute to the survival of my people. In this way, the brotherhood grows, both in numbers and in collective strength. In this way, the brotherhood serves as the vanguard for the volk. In this way, the Mannerbund serves our people.
We may reside in different geographic areas, but we are one people. Yankee, Southerner, Midwesterner, or Pacific Northwesterner – we are united. We boast different sub-cultures, accents, backgrounds, experiences, interests, and talents. Our efforts are bound together within one vision and toward one purpose. That is what makes our tribe strong. We speak with one voice, and we act together with one fist. Our numbers may be few, and scattered when compared to the masses around us, but because a common purpose unites us, our strength is magnified.
Never forget these things. Never lose sight of the vision, the purpose, or the goal. The struggle is eternal, and we are gathering strength with each passing day. As the gathering storm clouds on the horizon gain strength and intensify, so too do we. We are well-positioned and well-prepared to meet this coming storm. Let us do so with strength, honor, and fraternity.
Note: More details can be found here: https://www.thoughtco.com/12-labors-of-hercules-pictures-4122596.