Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Rich Perspective of Age + Experience

A portrait of Colonel Collins the week before he retired from the U.S. Army

Today is Christmas, and I received a wonderful gift in the form of a Thank You letter. With the author's kind permission, I'd like to share his words which so beautifully capture the spirit of living on purpose and giving back.

By way of the briefest introduction: I am a member of a group called the Warlord Loop (http://www.warlordloop.org/). John Collins is the 92+ year old founder and leader of the group. Though John is very active, he recently handed the reigns of Warlord to a successor. We now reverently refer to Colonel (Ret) Collins as Warlord Emeritus. Today this dear old gentleman took the time to express his gratitude to the 500 members of the Loop he created and has nurtured for 15 years. 

Please take a moment to read John's words. We have so much to learn from our older brothers and sisters, and we can only hope to have as much to offer others, should we reach such a venerable age. 


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Your Grandest Gift to Warlord Emeritus

Thank God every day when you get up that you have something 
to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not.
Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you           
temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness
and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know. 

--Basil Carpenter



Gainful employment in my case ceased on January 6, 1996. Beginning sometime in 1998, for the last 15 consecutive years to be exact, members of the Warlord Loop have blessed this nonagenarian with the grandest gift possible by giving me intellectual stimulation every day in ways that almost literally are keeping me alive. Basil Carpenter, who checked out of the net in 1979, would applaud their assistance from his afterlife perch. 

Most email nets devoted to national security consist of predictable input from particular segments of the opinion spectrum, whereas daily debates by this broad-based group open up endless windows on the real world. Back channel correspondence bolsters me whenever I wonder whether the time we expend every day of every month is worthwhile. One message from Captain (now Vice Admiral) Mike Rogers gave me particularly great aid and comfort when he was Special Assistant to JCS Chairman Peter Pace and Director of his Chairman's Action Group: "I am one of those silent members who normally chooses not to engage directly....but I can assure you that your thoughts and the thoughts of so many other members of this strong dialogue are a part of the input I provide my boss (and by extension which he provides to his bosses) on the national security challenges facing us today - and tomorrow." 

God bless you all for enriching the twilight of my life. I wish you and yours the happiest holiday season imaginable, good fortune throughout the coming year, and hope that your most treasured dreams come true.


JOHN COLLINS (aka Warlord Emeritus)
Age 92.5 Years and Counting

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Beautifully written, Sir.

I thank you for expressing such profound gratitude on Christmas Day. Your words offer proof that the gifts one gives really do come back magnified. The group you created and have nurtured has flourished and now gives you back something even more valuable to you than what you offered in the beginning. Your verse is like a homily for Christmas and good living.

Respectfully,

Dave


Aged 52.9 years and counting