Jung Myung Seok

Keeping God’s Law Absolutely – Story of A Spoon (Part 01)

When I came of age to join the military, it was unavoidable and thus I enlisted in the army too. To be able to leave that pitiful valley had always been my deepest desire but considering that I may perish in the battlefield and thus not be able to meet my parents again, was heart-wrenching to me. However, going to war was inevitable and thus I found myself being enlisted in the army.

“At least I have 3 meals from now and need not worry about hunger anymore…” I consoled myself this way and started my military life. I have never led a comfortable life and thus even though I too wished for the tough military training to disappear or reduce in intensity, it was not something I couldn’t handle.

There was, however, one thing which gave me much stress. Upon enrollment in the army, each person is given a set of personal belongings including inner and outerwear, boots and socks, helmet, cleaning equipment and bowl, chopsticks, spoon etc. Each person has to take care of his belongings and if it is lost, he has to pay for it. In fact, joining the army was already a not-so-happy experience and thus all the more everyone took care of his belongings well to ensure no necessity of paying for lost items.

A typical military kit (source: The Telegraph)

The strange thing, however, is that things still do disappear and the moment they disappear, a chain reaction will take place. The person who discovered his missing items will not want to pay any money and thus will resort to the simplest solution of stealing from others when they are not alert to make up for his lost items. This chain reaction will continue up to the point of inspection and the unlucky person would just have to swallow the loss and endure the punishment. As such incidents of unimaginable loss happen quite frequently, everyone starts to analyze and suspect that the culprits are the platoon commanders who secretly took away their belongings when they leave their bunks for training outside. In this way, the platoon commanders can earn the money of these young recruits. Although they are greatly frustrated, there is no trace of evidence and even if it is proven (that the platoon commanders stole their belongings), the fear that the platoon commanders may take it out on them and make their lives even more miserable resulted in them having no choice but to swallow all this and keep quiet.

Such incidents cause much hardship to me. First of all, I was upset at the possibility of my commanders committing such acts of greed. Secondly, even if such loss were to happen to me, I was unwilling to steal from others to replace my own. To me, to steal is to break one of the Ten Commandments! Thus in my daily prayer, I also added this “Please don’t let me lose my items and not just myself but for the whole bunk, the whole army as well, please don’t let anyone lose any item”. I petitioned to God.

Even then, an item was still lost!

A certain day, the commander announced that there would be an inspection on the following day. Thus we started frantically to prepare our items for inspection. At this moment, I couldn’t find my spoon!

“Oh my god! My spoon is missing” The thing I dreaded most has happened and my mind went blank and suddenly out of natural instinct I shouted, “My spoon is missing!” The whole bunk wants deal silent. The thief, of course, won’t say anything and those who didn’t take it also kept quiet as they were unable to help either. I went around in a frenzy asking each and every person: “Did you see my spoon? Would you happen to have two spoons on your side?” But the answer was always negative. The commander knew I had lost my spoon. He came over, staring at me. At this, I thought: “It’s over for me. I am going to get a severe scolding and even so, still have to resolve the missing spoon problem. This time, it’s truly over for me…”

(To be continued)

Post A Comment