Monday, February 14, 2011


Valentine's Day! Chocolate, roses, sexy lingerie!  Yes, but real love, the true love kind of thing, to me is found with that person who props you up when your knees go weak.

There is, of course, the notion that love is something you feel - that warm, yummy, tingling feeling.  These moments can be the seeds of love, but it is not really love until it gets beyond feelings to some kind of doing. Love in action, if you will.  Okay, so if  love reveals itself in action, then it stands to reason that lack of love reveals itself in lack of action. 

This last week following a fluke South Texas deep freeze, I lost my oven, my microwave, my stove top, my washing machine, and two walls from burst frozen pipes, and more you don't need to hear about. And for icing on the cake, I ended up in the Urgent Care Clinic with a kidney stone. Which by the way, remains lurking somewhere deep inside me.  Along with the disruption and insurance adjusters, I find my roof is "old" and seriously in need of replacing. 

To escape chaos, yesterday, I went to my favorite Mexican place for breakfast with a friend. The minute the plate of 'migas' arrived, I suddenly flipped into a gigantic panic attack.  I threw my glasses off and onto the table (the first sign for me that a panic attack is approaching).  Well, instead of devouring my favorite food on the planet, I sipped on apple juice and tried to hang onto the chair and table from the horrible dizziness that accompanies it.  I felt like I was bursting out of my skin and tried mind over matter, deep breathing, and ultimately 'xanax.'  Finally when I felt I could stand it no longer, my wobbly, shaky legs and my friend helped me out of the door, into the car, and home into bed until the attack subsided. 

Two hours later and feeling much better, I was at IHOP interviewing a warrior from Desert Storm, suffering from severe, chronic PTSD. As I listened to his story, I felt a renewed understanding of what this does to a person.  I only  understand a small piece of it, but that is bad enough.  We had to select a specific booth in the restaurant so that he could have his back to the wall and be able to see the door.  After we sat down I asked if he felt comfortable and his response was, "I know exactly where all the entrances and exits are.  I feel okay." 

He wants a dog - a battle buddy.  He is applying for one of our PTSD Support Service Dogs.  He lost his golden retriever and is devastated.  He isolates himself, has equilibrium problems, has distrubed sleep, is hypervigilant, is on 13 medications a day, and sometimes imagines ending his life.  He struggles to Walmart at 3:00 am when no one else is there so he can feel less threatened. He rarely leaves his home, and when he does, he is not alone. The list goes on and the story never ends.  His wife is an angel.  She is there by his side no matter what.  This is but one of thousands of the same scenarios.  It breaks my heart.

But ultimately, his service dog will be there for him when his knees go weak, when he senses the enemy all around him, when the nightmares are all too real.  He will not be alone.  He will have his friend, his battle buddy, he will have love.

It is an awesome thing to be able to provide such a gift, a gift of love and security and safety to a warrior who has all but given up.  He fought for our country, for you and me. Yesterday he wore his pride on a ball cap - VETERAN DESERT STORM, as he shared with us the fact that there are people who don't understand, who ridicule, who demean him. 

I understand. I listened.

I recalled the story of a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there.  When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing,  I just helped him cry."  That is all any of us can do,  just be there, sit quietly, listen gently and help them cry.

This my friends is love. 

 " We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and reslessness,  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.  We need silence to be able to touch souls." ~ Mother Teresa

Today may you find a soul to touch.

Happy Valentine's Day.


"An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding, and it is not to be found in foreign lands, but in the heart itself."
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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