great_sword-wideThe sounds of steel clanging against each other resonated within me. I zeroed in on the behemoth of a man charging straight for me. His large features prominent and face twisted into a snarl. I stood frozen and unable to move and as his emblazoned glare pierced me so did his sword, right beneath my ribcage. The cold steel was unrelenting and unforgiving. Deeper and deeper it plunged and his mouth curved into a smile of accomplishment.

They had warned me that we were no match, they had warned me that as a woman I could not face this beast and win. The chainmail no match to a sword thicker than the large gold medallion that adorned his neck. I argued that our army was larger and I an expert swords…woman. All of my tactical training had not prepared me for the venture I insisted would lead us to victory. So very wrong I was. Outside of myself I watched the bloody fray. My soul stood helpless and I watched as the behemoth drew his sword from my chest and slid it across his tongue. His blackened teeth stained red, now in glory. Before he could pierce my lifeless body again I found myself in a thick bright white fog.

I could not see in front of my face let alone make out anything around me. “This must be the afterlife,” I beckoned. “Not yet,” a voice responded. This was the moment that everything flooded back into consciousness. Each moment of my life I watched as an outsider looking in. As I watched each day progress in a second I asked aloud, “Is there nothing I can do to change it?” The voice again returned, “What would you like to change?” There were several things, but the only one that seemed important was the last, “It isn’t the loss of life for myself that I mourn, but that my comrades may lose this battle and their homes. Their loss of life means so much more.”

Impressed with the nobility of my request the voice responded, “I can allow you to go back to change the outcome, but you only get one chance. I implore you to think of a better way.” Suddenly I was back in the midst of battle, moments before the behemoth attacked me. I had just enough time to give word to stand guard behind me. My fellow soldiers could not stop my death but they were able to take him down after I had been slain. Instead of a look of fear and anguish upon my lifeless face, it was that of peace and acceptance. We won the war and the mission was complete, our country and home safe from the invaders that would scar and destroy what we loved.

The moral of this story is that in life, that sacrifice for the right things may not save you from trouble or despair but the rewards are sometimes greater than you. The bigger picture is what is important. We make choices and decisions every day that not only affect our lives, but for the lives of those around us. Let those decisions count for something and if we screw it up, as long as we breathe there are always opportunities to change it for the better.

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