Tuesday, September 14, 2010


It is true and honest that those we meet change us.  Sometimes profoundly, and we are never the same again. 

Sometimes we balance and sometimes we don't.   Sometimes we break and have to heal.  Hearts break and lives break, and healing will take as long as it takes.  We are all seeking a magic formula for passage from the place we are to the place we want to be.  There is no magic formula.

The question is no different for our wounded warriors.  My question is do we see wounded warriors or warriors with wounds when war comes home?  It is often impossible to understand PTSD.  For forty years veterans have been told to 'get over it.' According to one Vietnam veteran "the deal is, it's got me.  I don't have it.  Don't tell me to get over it."

For a soldier named Joe, Bella walked in with angels on her shoulders.  This Australian Shepherd follows Joe with love.  She a rescue, and he a wounded warrior with PTSD, together they are a team.  Since Bella entered his life, he is sleeping for three hours a night and  not experiencing nightmares or flashbacks.  To him this is huge!  It has been years since he slept longer than three hours a night without the invasion of terror. Fear has kept him denying his emotions.  Fear of awakening to war once again.  But Bella is now under the covers, snuggling close to this soldier whose emotions are awakening once again.  He is now hoping for four hours of sleep in a row.

Why is it we take moments for granted?  What is it, this sense of urgency to have more, be more, do more?  Henry David Thoreau hit the nail on the head when he said, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?  We are determined to be starved before we are hungry." 

How are we available to those who need us the most, if we are so absorbed in our own chaos and frenzy?  How do we hear the voices and stories of our soldiers coming home?  How can we be present for them, if we can't be present for ourselves. 

The wounded warriors for the most part 'get it,' despite their battles that are just beginning when they come home. They know what is precious and what isn't.  Time and time again they tell me it makes them crazy to see the small insignificant things that upset us. We have no idea! 

We lose contact with friends, we wave to neighbors we don't know, we don't smile for fear someone takes it the wrong way, we don't look at the blue sky with wonder anymore, and we don't get a lump in our throats at the song of a bird or an old couple dancing.  We don't marvel at a baby's smile or puppy breath.  We don't relinquish the control of time for fear we miss something.  We are consumed yet still hungry.  Satiated, yet empty.  We are living, but living far away from the understanding that each day, each precious moment is a gift, not a commodity to be spent or wasted or something saved for later.  We are living disconnected from what enlivens our souls.  A deep appreciation for the times of our lives is becoming more subdued and vague.  As we fill ourselves with distractions and toys and noise and frivolous activities and actions, we fail to hear the whispers of our world and our hearts and those that love us the most.  We fail to see the signals that are deep inside that will guide us, nourish us, protect us, and ensure we are living the best life we can.

Perhaps this is the lesson, the magic formula for passage, we must learn from Joe and a little dog named Bella when war comes home.


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1 comment:

  1. Patsy, you have such a gift! A gift of putting into words, just the right thoughts that help me stay grounded. You are so "big" in my eyes. I hope that the day we meet, I can hug you long enough that even just a small part of your gift rubs off on me. Thank you for "pockets".