A little-known history lesson reveals that Hiroo Onoda fought WWII for 32 years. In reality, the war lasted from 1939 to 1945, but a few scattered sects of Japanese soldiers had no way to know that the war had ended. Circa 1945, radio technology in the Philippine wilderness was scarce (and likely still is today!)
Onoda was one of the last holdouts. Cut off from his home and constantly on guard, he battled with police and pillaged farms at the edge of the wilderness for 29 more years.
Onoda’s war continued until Norio Suzuki, a Japanese explorer and adventurer, left Japan and came after him. Finding Onoda wouldn’t be easy, but Suzuki was up to the task. Suzuki, knowing Onoda’s tricks, was successful in finding him. However, Onoda would not surrender without orders from his Superior Officer. Suzuki sent the request to Japan to send Onoda’s former commander, Yoshimi Taniguchi (who was still alive and had become a bookseller) to the Philippines. On March 9th, 1974, Major Taniguchi delivered the news: Japan was at peace…and had been for decades. Upon hearing this news from his commander, Onoda surrendered, and in an act of civility, the Philippines pardoned him for his actions.
Do you ever feel a bit like Onoda? Fighting a war that isn’t really happening? Our minds often suffer more from imagination than reality.
Will the pandemic be the end of me?
Will my loves ones be safe?
The market was down today, surely this is the beginning of a crash!
My friend made this comment, he must have meant __________…
I’m not good enough.
I’m not worthy.
I hate the way my body looks…
And on…and on…and on…the war goes. The most precious space is occupied by the distance between your ears. Your mind wages war on itself. Ever thinking, never stopping. Decisions, anxiety, stress, panic, retreat…wage war against…innovation, creativity, gratitude, optimism. And it continues from the moment you rise, until the moment you sleep…and sometimes, even occupies your dreams.
But the fight is worth it…
Peace, just ahead…
If you think about it, Onoda’s commander brought news that peace had come through defeat. Onoda’s war was lost, but peace had victory. Sometimes, admitting that the negativity that wars in our minds isn’t worth it…pursuing the defeat of strife and peril…is when peace arrives. Realizing that tomorrow is a new day,
that the sun will rise again,
that you are worth it,
that you matter,
that you are loved,
that you can create,
that you are important,
that you are an overcomer…
is all you need to encounter peace.
What endless war in your mind are you fighting today?
Peace shall be victorious!