A View into the Face of Human Suffering & Survival

We all feel pain, hunger, discouragement, and loneliness in similar ways. We all express a common thread in the fabric of our survival instinct. In this arena there is no color difference. At times throughout my life I have experienced the face of suffering and desolation in ways that have caused my mind and spirit to feel utterly helpless and empty. This Web page features two charcoal etchings of the face of human suffering and survival.

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The face of War

1p.gif (49 bytes)I sketched this moment of intense survival from a photo that was later given to me by our unit's special forces photographer, Tom Shinton. He was caught in the same ambush with me.  My helmeted face is returning to another casualty in the painting's foreground. The story of this battle was recorded in Time Magazine.  There were over two hundred casualties to my friends and comrades that day. As their Medical Chaplain I was with many friends who were reaching out for both my medical help and spiritual-emotional encouragement on that dark and cloudy day.  I also was wounded later on that day.
1p.gif (49 bytes)In all candor there is no adequate translation for the eye to eye bloody encounters that I experienced along the river banks of Vietnam's Mekong Delta.  Perhaps the clearest interpretation is reflected in the hopeless, helpless fatigued face of the young man on the left side of this sketch.

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The Face of Human Suffering

This interpretive sketch speaks for a thousand words and faces in the memory of my journey through the nations of our planet, the face of war and the markings carved on the endless faces of emotional fear and stress as close as your next door neighbor.

In this global facial image there is still a lingering silent expression of ones dignity and inner strength that will hopefully survive beyond the helpless fatigue and confusion of the present condition.


Copyright 1999, R. Padre Johnson