Shades of Grey

Trapped In Shades of Grey

Trapped In Shades of Grey

That was the title of a documentary movie I saw at the army Camp Drake in Tokyo, back in 1951,  just hours before we were loaded back onto our troop ship destined for Inchon Korea and combat. The premise was that black was insanity and white was sanity and that nobody is white and the more stress we are put under and as we face different experiences our minds might travel from lighter to darker and some all the way to black. In other words, combat experiences might drive us nuts. I saw that happen in the first few days on the line. One fellow reacted to a stressful experience by taking a hand grenade and successfully blowing his hand off so he could be sent home.  Many of us reacted in different ways after we were rotated back home or such. I guess they have fancy names for it today such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Battle Fatigue. Or even Shell Shocked. I remember one day at the Railroad when one of our train dispatchers came out of his office into the huge lobby which was no longer in use, just outside my office, and he started pacing up and down and shouting out loud.  He was under such stress that he had made it all the way to the very dark section of that chart.  He soon left the railroad for a different occupation. I’ve had the joy of mentoring a mental patient with her speaking and I gave a little talk at a home shared by folks with mental problems and it is easy for me to see how at different times in my life my shades of grey have altered. I feel I have been blessed to have the right family, the right locations and so many wonderful people in my life that I have managed to somehow find some balance throughout my life.  It is easy to look at folks in a bit different situation and say truthfully, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

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