Monday, August 24, 2009

The Captain

After the visit with the Blue man we get some flashbacks from Eddie's life, we learn about Marguerite and a little about what's going on at the pier where he just died. Then we fast forward to Eddie finding himself where he had been back in his days in the Army. He notices his body doesn't feel quite as good as it did with the blue man, but as it did when he was in the Army. He meets his second person, his old army captain.

They meet up in a tree and exchange a brief catching up. Then the author takes us through flashbacks of Eddie's time in the army and the time he spent with this captain. The most intense part of all when they got out of the prisoner camp. Eddie ends up burned and with a shot knee because he thinks he saw someone in the buildings they were burning down as they escaped. He let the knee injury change his life forever, he believed it ruined his life. The captain gets to the point of this long conversation because he comes clean to Eddie that he was the one that shot him in the knee. Eddie is filled with anger and the Captain tells him to let it all out. The captain explains to him about what he had to do to save Eddie's life. Eddie starts to realize the reasoning behind it all as the captain shares with Eddie how he died. The Captain died saving his men just after he saved Eddie by shooting him in the leg.

This is where Eddie learns his Second lesson. "Sacrifice. You made one. I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost." said the captain, and he continued, "You didn't get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. A mother works so her son can go to school. A daughter moves home to take care of her sick father. A man goes to war...." The captain continues to tell him how his sacrifice and Eddie's sacrifice were not in vain. He tells him, "Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else." The captain is able to receive Eddie's forgiveness for shooting him in the leg and Eddie finally seems to understand why this had to happen to him like the captain said, "I shot you, all right, and you lost something, but you gained something as well. You just don't know it yet. I gained something too. I got to keep my promise. I didn't leave you behind."

Another Question from Think about Eddie's war experiences and discuss your reactions to Albom's evocation of war. What did Eddie learn by being in war? How did he "come home a different man"? Why did the captain shoot Eddie? Explore what it means when the captain tells Eddie, "I took your leg to save your life." Why does the captain tell Eddie that sacrifice is not really a loss, but a gain? Examine whether or not Eddie understands this, and the significance of this lesson.

Eddie and the captain's conversation finishes up and they talk about the Heaven the Captain has chosen. Eddie also asks in desperation what happened to the little girl he was trying to save when he died but the captain won't tell him anything. Thinking about the second lesson that Eddie learned, Have you ever had to sacrifice something or acknowledged what someone else's sacrifice did for you? Think about the ultimate sacrifice, Christ died for us so that we might live. How often do you remember to thank Him for it?

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