Once we have a name for something, we sort of consider it solved. Such is the case with PTSD…
This evening my son and I, with his Mom and another young war veteran, were sharing stories. Daniel related how the unit to which he had been assigned the 1-325th Red Falcons of the 82nd Airborne had recently been deployed to the Middle East. A young lieutenant that Daniel had gotten to know a little before he retired from the unit was killed by an IED. He shared how another soldier with whom he had gone through boot camp had been assigned to the Old Guard, the troops whose mission is to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and provide honor guards at the Arlington National Cemetery. That young soldier had just committed suicide because of the bullying and hazing he had endured in the unit.
So often, once we have a name for something, we sort of consider it solved. Such is the case with PTSD, Post-Truamatic Stress Disorder. There, you see, we named it and now we know it so we don’t need to do any more with it. We can kind of tuck it away in the corner of our sub-conscious until we hear of the next young soldier’s death due to hazing and bulllying and we nod our heads knowingly. If so and so had just gotten some help for his PTSD maybe his suicide would not have happened, we say. That makes for an easy perspective when it isn’t your son, your husband, your father. Now my son owns two wrist bands, silver and shiny. Etched in them are the names of his battle buddy and of his Lieutenant. It made me recall the POW/MIA bracelets of the late 60’s and early 70’s. I wonder whatever happened to mine? I began to wonder whatever became of my MIA… perspective.
The young veteran with whom we were talking shared how he hoped that when the tatoo he was in the process of getting down his arm is finished there will be a worn American flag there. Underneath the flag will be the words, “Lest We Forget”… perspective.
Very recently, I attended a memorial service for a young firefighter, killed senselessly in a one car traffic crash. His 8-year-old son. who was also in the truck. was treated and released. I watched that young boy stand strong and true at the service, as I’m sure hie believed would make his daddy proud. I wondered about where he wouled be in ten years… perspective.
Quite some time ago I began work on my certification for trauma counseling for frist respoonders and for veterans and military personnel. But, I got busy. There was no deadline so I pushed it aside. Then, after awhile it made its way to my side table and then my bookshelf. It’s back on my desk again and that is the result of perspective.
He is to be first of all I love and it is through my love for Him and His love for me that I can love others.
ALL I NEED… really?
Every once in a while, something that I did not expect comes along and hits me like a brick right upside the head. That is what happened this morning while in services at the Chapel. We were having a wonderful time singing in worship and we performed one of the past ‘golden oldies’ of the faith. The refrain of the song came around, All I Need is You”
A great song, a great refrain – is it possible that I really meant that? My brother was lying in the hospital hanging on to life with tubes and a respirator. I looked across the row in front of me and saw a son-in-law of mine and daughter and another son-in-law, a daughter-in-law; and next to me was my wife and another daughter and son-in-law. In the nursery of the church were five of my grandchildren and two others were in their own classes. One daughter was away at work and a son was in police training… Did I really believe that I could be Job? I could have someone walk up to me sometime this week and tell me that everyone I love was gone in some horrific accident and take it?
Much of what I KNOW will help but how much will it help? For example:
I know that everyone of them will be waiting for me in heaven if such a tragedy should happen. I know they would be better off than me!
But, what if…
suddenly everything closest to me on this earth is ripped from me – the people who love me and help me, care for me and stay with me through the tough times are gone and I have nothing left but God… would I blame Him or turn to Him? I hope that I would fall totally on Him, completely dependent on Him for every day to continue.
Would I, could I possibly turn and say, All I need is God?
I know that having complete faith in God doesn’t mean you do not grieve; so I believe that any grief would be natural and to be experienced as part of a healing process.
I want to believe that I will be Okay and that I will be a testimony to the truth that God really is all I need. Affirming that is not saying that God is all I love. God gave us the love that we have for one another and He helps that love grow and nourish. He is to be the first of all that I love and it is through my love for Him and His for me that I can love others. It is that same relationship that will take me through the grief to continue one day at a time. Whatever life brings, I know eternity will make it all Okay. Until then, like the father who told Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief” I pray “God, You are all I need; Help me to need only You.”