Their ability to reach a place deep inside us, provides fuel for making us better people, for humbling us.Their presence can often make us feel grounded, fully alive, and in the moment.
A week ago a soldier wheeled into the kitchen at the Warrior Family Support Center for an omelet and a plate of the 'best-ever' hashbrowns. Days before he had placed a coin in my hand in appreciation and gratitude for the work of my therapy dog, Kelsie, with the wounded warriors. This was an extraordinary honor. The side of the coin holds the words, "Stay Alert! Stay Alive!"
But this particular Saturday morning, he seemed especially happy and in good spirits and in less pain than usual. I asked how he was doing. His response of four words with a thumbs up is something I wish every American could wrap their head and heart around. "Upright with a pulse."
Listening to the conversations of the world I realize my heroes wear combat boots. No matter what the worry-of-the-day is for any of us our military has it much worse. And you know what? Not once have I ever heard a complaint.
We do not have to be owned by the pace of our lives. We do not have to gripe and grumble about the mundance irritants of each day. What we do need reverence for is the stuff of life that makes us grounded, fully alive and in the moment.
The wounded warriors that march in and out of my life offer me a feeling of emotional intimacy. They are who, and what, grounds me and puts my life into perspective. Some pass through my life like Joe, a wounded soldier, healed and back to Iraq for a year in a few weeks. I sat with him last week on a patio and shared a steak and one of the best conversations I have ever experienced. We talked politics, children, dogs, and helicopters, while listening to an amazing steel guitar and a band from Bakersfield, California playing a Waylon Jenning's song. He shared with me his feelings at being spat on by Americans in Kansas upon his return injured. I felt repulsed and ill. He simply smiled and said it is their "right."
With Joe, the fire under my passion was rekindled. I felt, as if in thirty minutes, he had tugged at my heart strings, awakened a fire, and reminded me that angels do indeed walk among us. I hugged him and whispered into his ear, "You keep us safe and fight for us and you remember this one lady in South Texas who is fighting for you." He looked at me with what I suspect was the precursor of a tear and mouthed "Thank you I will."
This weekend before Memorial Day I ask you to remember one thing - GOT FREEDOM! THANK OUR TROOPS.