Yesterday people were rushing to the supermarket to get ‘supplies’, food, firewood, and goodness knows what else that they might need for the projected ‘snow’ that was to hit San Antonio. It was innately humorous. Those of us from colder climates wonder why people wear earmuffs and down jackets when the temperature reaches a low of 65 degrees. With snow forecast, goodness, it is as if the end of the world is approaching. I hear “I didn’t move to San Antonio for snow,” or “I should have been a bear and then I could hibernate.”
Okay, so I am the one driving to the Warrior Family Support Center on a 32 degree Saturday morning to make omelets for wounded soldiers – with my window down and the sunroof open! It clears my head, it helps me focus, and, truth be known, I definitely enjoy the looks of people wondering ‘what in the world is wrong with her.’
Part of clearing my head was the realization that there is absolutely nothing that would stop me from doing what I do! To work with five other dedicated volunteers, in perfect synchronicity at the Warrior Family Support Center on Saturday mornings, is an honor and a privilege. To serve a hot home cooked breakfast to our wounded warriors and their familes, feeds my soul.
Today I met Jason. I instantly recognized him by the look on his face. He had faced war head on and returned home with the invisible wound of PTSD. For him, coming home was just the beginning of the war.
On this day, he cooked, he cleaned, he was attentive, he was friendly, handsome, strong, dedicated, and yet his face carried a sadness that was unmistakable. Somehow as we talked, I felt he had opened his heart to me, so wide that I slipped inside without even knowing my feet had left the earth. Meeting him was one of those moments when words are meaningless, one of those moments that erases everything and makes you want to find a way to open a door into a place that is hopeful for him.
Much of life can never be explained and what Jason endured, and will always, can’t either. It was obvious that he is wise beyond his twenty five years on this earth. We sat in front of the crackling fire place and he talked to me and I listened. He understood that I ‘get it.’ I felt great pride and honor, in what I perceived as his comfort and trust in talking to me.
He is motivational, inspirational and courageous. And I feel sure that for him courage is sometimes holding on a minute longer. But he also is able to realize that it is risky to go out on a limb, but to do otherwise he knows he will never find the fruit. His courage and greatness was revealed in the stories he shared with me. All were legendary and all held sacrifices. His stories are not simply war stories but lessons in character, patriotism and devoted love of country.
For his friends that didn’t make it home, he now feeds breakfast to the wounded that did. For him, home is where his story will rebuild itself. He will face the all too rough edges of life and his story will reveal his path.
Today it didn’t snow in San Antonio, but I found a beacon of light and the pristine brilliance of snow in a soldier. A soldier who offers roses for those who pause to listen and learn of his purpose. He has returned from war and entered a new world. But Jason will not be its prisoner.