Staff Sergeant Eric Fidelis Alva known today as the first injured Marine in the Iraq War took his circumstances and turned them into a positive when he came out being gay and changed the world’s perspective on the homosexual community. Repealing the Pentagon’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy Eric Alva’s dedication towards his beliefs demonstrates like many examples of poetry that God plays an active role in all of our lives. Eric Alva’s sacrifice towards his service was justified in being a major movement for legislation discriminating against homosexuals, limiting their ability to express the very freedom that this country is based on.
It was on March 21, 2003 when the Iraq war began. This day also marked the day that Sergeant Alva stepped on a land mine, losing his right leg as well as damaging his left hand. From that day forward Eric Alva’s primary purpose in life seemed ruined. It was his constant dedication to re-establish himself into society that gave him a second chance as well as the realization that he was here for a bigger more monumental purpose.
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’ Connor a family’s journey to Tennessee proves to be their downfall when they run into the Misfit and eventually get killed. The truth of the matter is that the family who had the original purpose of going on vacation was eventually stopped by a group of three criminals who represent the denial of God. Speaking about how unfairly they have been treated throughout their lives, the Misfit and his gang were isolated from society by their bitterness to accept what they were doing was wrong. The grandmother’s constant pleading to the Misfit to pray as well as the sacrifice of her by trying to touch the man represents that we all have a higher purpose in our lives that we have to sacrifice ourselves in order to accomplish.
In “God’s Grandeur,” we yet again see a demonstration of one’s true hidden purpose in life. This is first introduced in the first four lines of the poem where Gerard Manley Hopkins speaks of God and how he has an everlasting effect in everyone’s life. This emphasizes the suggestion that because of God’s presence we are all influenced to do something great as long as they are accepting of his message. It was Eric Alva’s acceptance towards his condition that ultimately connected his ambitions towards his passions which not only included serving his country but also making the army more open to homosexuals who love his or her country as well. The poem ultimately suggests that there is a lighter side toward evil and that everything happens for a reason. Whether it’s the death of a family or the sacrifice of one’s self for one’s country, God’s constant theme of renewal will always connect man with nature.
In “Happiness” the incorporation of St. Francis and animals is synonymous with people having a true niche in life. It is finding this niche that is the true meaning of life; Eric Alva demonstrates this through his success even when his physical health was in jeopardy, a trait that the majority of us take for granted. Prosperity being a main theme throughout the poem can be achieved no matter what circumstance you are in. Jane Hirshfield’s poem represents that even through hardship, hopelessness, desperateness, and loneliness lies a meaning to life.
Eric Alva devoted his life to a cause that he ultimately made better, but in order to do so he was forced to give the ultimate sacrifice of his health. Regardless of the severity of our ambitions, we all have our own personal calling in life, it is the actions that we go through to find this calling that makes us who we are. Whether we are meant to be murdered or lose a limb there is no reason to give up on life because everything happens for a reason.