Raindrops

The letter below is printed with permission. John is a Vietnam vet who lives in Australia. He and his friend Rick saw me perform in Vietnam.

Dear Mamie,

If I helped you to get a good nights sleep I am pleased.

I know what it is like to not be able to sleep and to be haunted by things I saw and experienced in Vietnam. I learned to live with them, but they are always in the background.

I think one way to comfort yourself when you feel those things in the night is to recognize that you feel them because you actually have a kind, compassionate heart.

When you toured in Vietnam, all those years ago, you saw suffering and put your life on the line as well. You could have died there and you knew it. BUT you went anyway. At that point in your life your heart told you that you needed to go and your head got you there.

Mamie, you and I have grown old. The memories are even more vivid now than twenty years ago. Be kind to yourself when you feel down.

You asked about Rick. Rick was an ordinary guy from Idaho. He grew up in a small town, never had a girlfriend and died never having had sex. That was Rick. He was funny, blue-eyed, open souled and faced the world with a shrug.

Rick was happy that day when he and I saw you. After he died and I returned to the States, before coming to Australia, I visited his parents. They wanted to know how he died. All I said was “When he died he had people around him who loved him”. For them that was enough.

The world is strange and we don’t know what to believe anymore.

I had been a member of a Vietnam Veterans’ group on Facebook for 3 years, but never posted anything. One day I was reading all these heroic war stories, that I didn’t believe, and decided to post something of my own that was true.

Here it is:

“After I was shot in 1968 I was taken to a military hospital in Saigon. While I was there I slipped in and out of consciousness. At one stage I heard a nurse saying to another nurse, about me, “It’s really bad!” I remember I opened my eyes, looked at her and said, “You think this is bad? I got a letter last week that told me my dog had died”.

Sometimes our feelings seem in-congruent with what’s happening. That can happen in a war, after a war and late at night when we can’t sleep.

Remember Mamie, in your life you have made many more people happy than you have made sad. You made Rick happy, even if only for those few moments.

When I am depressed about my life and past I remember what Buddha said, “You came upon a raindrop and called it your life.”

Until the next time,

Your friend,

John

The Buddha’s raindrop analogy is part of a teaching on death he often gave to his students. Simply put, our journey as raindrops begins when we leave the raincloud, and continues until we rejoin other droplets in oceans and rivers. Our death then is not the end of life, but merely our consciousness rejoining our fellow raindrops in the ocean of cosmic consciousness, waiting to take rebirth in the next rain shower.

mvd

4 thoughts on “Raindrops

  1. Great letter. Thanks for sharing John’s thoughts and memories.

    I was never in the war. I almost was. The week I was supposed to report to my draft board just after Christmas, 1970, I was in the hospital getting surgery for a detached retina. Serious stuff back then. Months of recovery. But it made me 4-F, medically unfit for service. My vision did not completely recover and left me seeing things as if looking through wavy glass in my right eye. I consider it my Vietnam War injury and a small price for the privilege of not coming back in a body bag. Not that I was a coward, just not in favor of a stupid war that ruined so many lives. I have a couple of friends who are still horribly haunted by what they saw and did.

    I do, however, have great respect for it’s survivors and for entertainers like you, who all risked their lives in support of one another. Thanks to you and John. People like you are the heroes of these messes.

    –David

    Reply
  2. Dear Mamie: A voice from the past. We met in UBon Thailand In 1979. WOW I’ve gotten old.
    I’m Col “Clem” Juhl I have never forgotten the couple days we spent in Ba. Remember, we talked about getting married in the Temple of the Emerald Buda? What wonderful stories.
    I’ve married a lovely lady who could be your double even today. We live in Carlsbad California, just down the road, I would love to make contact with you. ( the last time was at a restaurant in NPB) when you had the little shop on the island. Be well “Clem. Juhl”

    Reply
  3. Dear Clem, it’s been a long time and still the memories are all there. I’m happy to hear you have found your soul mate. I’ve been with mine nearly 50 years. Glad you made Col, so did I only with an H in front of it Honorary Col. I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Just ready to start a new book called Secrets of the Goddess. The time I spent in Vietnam was so worth part of my life and bringing some happiness to the forgotten.
    You my dear have gotten older and that is a blessing. I’ve outlasted most of my contemporaries. Why don’t we speak by phone and take it from there. I would love to share some of
    the happy moments we had together. Raindrop M
    p.s. since these are public comments, please contact me by private message on Twitter or Facebook or by email.

    Reply

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