by Robert J. Lanz, LCSW
There is a scene, masterfully shot, by Steven Spielberg at the beginning of his award winning movie, Saving Private Ryan, that sets the tone for the movie’s theme. An army car winds its way up a lonely country road to a n equally lonely farm house. The woman there sees the car and knows bad news is coming. There is a quick cut to the next scene, a large room full of women seated behind mechanical typewriters, clacking away. It’s obvious they are the ones that write the letters, the death notifications that go anonymously to the families who have lost a loved one in the war. Families like the one headed by the broken hearted woman.
One mother has lost several sons and someone in charge of the typists realizes she only has one son remaining, Private Ryan. He is deep in the war zone and the story line is that a special group of otherwise un-special soldiers are assigned to look for and find Private Ryan and get him home safe. No one person, mother or otherwise should have to endure such suffering.
Sometimes we feel like those guys, fighting with everything we have to stop bad things from happening, if only for a brief amount of time. A respite so we can regroup our energies. So we can reconstitute our defenses and believe again that all is not lost.
Tonight, just tonight there will be no SIDS babies or drive by shooting victims or old people run down in crosswalks. No fires that decimate families and no one’s mother will have a heart attack. We won’t have to tell a parent about their kid’s brain tumor. Drunks will get sober and no one will jump off the bridge behind the hospital and no one will hit a deer with their mountain bike.
We’ll all sit around bored but we won’t be happy. We’ll just be. Be there waiting for someone to come and save us, take us home to safety. No more carnage, an end to the war.