Richard C. Hudson - Philisophy of an ex POWThere is beauty in life and it is found in simplicity. Simplicity does not infer happiness, health, wealth or love. It is none of those and all of those, as long as they are uncomplicated and unadorned with all of life's myriad facets.
A grain of sand is simple and beautiful. If you hold one grain on the tip of your finger and stare at it or gaze at it under a microscope, it is beautiful. Yet to hold a handful of sand or watch it spread under the weight of your foot, its beauty is lost in the complication of mass. It has been said that the simpler one lives, the happier one is. Of that I am not sure, but there is beauty in it.
There was a time when my life was in fact simplicity itself. I had been a prisoner of war for some time. At some point, I realized that the Japanese had slowly simplified my life. They had stripped me of my dignity, my faith, my pride, and my job as a soldier. They had separated me from my family, my girlfriend, my daughter, and killed most of my buddies and friends. All my possessions had been stripped from me and I did not even have the rags of a uniform I had been captured in. I had been released of all of life's responsibilities and left with one possession
That one possession was my life. My one duty was to stay alive. My simple routine was work, eat, live. I may have been a little touched but who was not at this point? I had one responsibilityÖLive. I didnít have to worry about finding a water pump for my 32 Ford, thinking of what to get Mom for her birthday or making sure that my girlfriend in Manila and our newborn daughter were fed and taken care of.
I had been reduced to me. I didnít even hate the Japanese at this point. I felt no hate, no love, no remorse, no fear and lost the ability to cry when a fellow prisoner died. I was beyond despair. The emotions which had lubricated my life were gone and it was a good thing for emotions give you excess hope and can throw you into a rage which in turn drains you of the strength to survive.
I had seen and lived through the horrors of which I could never speak of. Life's purpose for me was to see another sunrise, to live another day, to keep breathing.
There was a simple beauty in this routine. My total focus was to survive. To survive was in itself victory over the enemy and the end to suffering. Eat, work, breathe, live. Simple. Survival was beautiful.
Richard C. Hudson
9 August, 1946