INFANTRY of any kind, of any order, require watchmen who stand at their post awake and at the ready, that others may take rest awhile, content that there are those standing guard on behalf of them.
This particular line of work is not an easy task. Though seldom the watchman is called upon, his difficulty lies in the anticipation and the hours that pass when his attention is uncalled-for but so importantly required. One could reckon that in these circumstances the imaginations of such watchmen are apt to taunt them more so than actualities. Much control is needed over nerve and sinew; and as tiredness seizes the unoccupied mind, extreme self-discipline dictates that the guard be fixed to that station come what may.
The watchman may inform the sleeping company should the need arise and must dutifully remain until his turn to slumber comes around. To remain alert and divorced from distraction, to be faithful to the watch, and restrain the imaginations, this is the post that many an army of a 'spiritual' command has pledged to.
"Awake!" the watchman cries at last, "There is a threat from the south, from the west, from the north, from the east!" But the company snoozes on. "Awake I say!" exclaims the frenzied watchman who has waited many a long hour in solitude, turning this way and that, with this eventuality in mind.
But the soldiers are unrousable, and not a one does stir. The men are unresponsive to his alarm. They are blissfully unconscious to the impending dangers. The solitary guard has yet a further fear to face, that no heed be made to his tribulations, that no action be answering his cries for assistance.
Many a man knows this frenzy when he comes to the Lord and pleas for assistance. In like way to that solitary watchman, he has called to interrupt the dozing consciousness of his companions and arrest the circumstance single-handedly; and in seeking to be saved does beseech the Heavens for their help. And night after night, in the loneliest of hours, such cries from frantic souls may be heard screaming from all quarters of the Globe.
There is nothing so frightening as that of feeling forsaken.
Every child knows this fear- that the parent will one day mislay them or go on their way without them. And during the course of one's life there are many sad instances of just this, whether by parent or loved one, or purely through division of death or loss of acquisition, whereby we grieve sorely in the despair of dejection and the desperation of knowing such helplessness in circumstance. We may be carrying out our duty faithfully, just as with the watchman. When the time comes, and the fruition of such labor is put to the test, we may be spun into helplessness, forsaken by those who we so relied on.
For the time this endures there are no sweet comforts in phrase or in parable, as ugly trials so described are never pleasant. This is the plea of the suicidal, the overwrought, the anguished, and the lonely; and a duty for all to answer, if not collectively in sympathy, one by one to awaken to the cries of our brothers. With one eye open and one ear cocked, to be ever ready to help, rather than to sleep on and on.
The cries of the spirit are divinely answered in time, but in measure, in kindness there is so much one can assist with, with those tribulations of our brothers. The proverb so said, "A problem shared, is a problem divided" is well remembered when one chances upon a soul in trouble. Through every man the Lord may effect His will, if given the opportunity.
All labor of assistance is accounted for and reconciled. There is much asked of us and depended upon, that also in our darkest periods we may look to another to share those fears and frights, and combat them not singly, but together.
Therefore friendship is ever vigilant to the needs of our companions. We do not forsake them when the times become unsavory. We do not withdraw our hand, ere they begin to slip. A hand in timely grasp does far better than a handshake. To acknowledge that the human condition is fain to desperate interludes, and whilst suffering is inevitable in certain periods, it may be lessened by our assistance, by our attentiveness.
And if perchance the lonely watchman has endured only imaginings of gargoyles, which in the light of morning dissolve, that the shadowy multitudes that had closed in all around abandon to the new day, having threatened only the tired mind, touching not the sleeping crew - just one, who may have aroused and come to the side of that frantic guard, may have lessened the seconds of anguish.