Thursday, February 2, 2012


"When you do a thing, do it with all your might.  Put your whole soul into it.  Stamp it with your personality.  Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful and you will accomplish your object."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th Century American Writer

These words were handed to me on a piece of copy paper by a hospitalized wounded warrior with severe PTSD.  He said when he read the words they reminded him of what we do to help our warriors, whether burn survivors, amputees or the thousands with the invisible wounds of PTSD, TBI and/or MST (Military Sexual Trauma). He wanted us to have them.  I was touched and moved and humbled and ready to perform any miracle I might be able to pull out of a hat to help as many of those suffering from PTSD  as possible.  But then reality hits and says, 'you quite simply can't help them all.'  

I can understand, comprehend, feel to the core the pain of it.  You feel misplaced, alone, scared, and in a world that never stops whirling and a place where you don't feel you belong.  You want life to be the way it was.  You want to go back to 'before.' You want the sun's rays to cover you with a healing warmth and let the rain wash away the pain and uncertainty and grief and allow you to bloom once again.

For some reason, it is easy for me to feel what others are feeling.  To be compassionate.  I want to try to help, to do something, anything, to alleviate the pain.  Perhaps because I too have great pain that needs to be alleviated.  I don't know.

In the words of the 14th Dalai Lama, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

Sometimes in our lives we all need to be carried, when we just couldn't do it anymore.  We will always remember who was there for us.

The Story of the Sand Dollar ~ Making a Difference

An old man was strolling along a beach one day. In the distance he saw a young boy and girl reach down, pick something up and throw it back into the sea.

Drawing nearer, he saw that the sand was littered with thousands of small stranded sand dollars. The children were patiently picking them up, one at a time, and returning them to safety below the water.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Saving sand dollars," replied the children as they continued about the job at hand.

The old man, somewhat jaded by age, thought the children's actions were futile.

"But the beach is littered with dying sand dollars. What possible difference can you make by doing this?"

The young girl bent over, picked up another, and threw it with all her might. With a plop the sand dollar sank safely below the water. Then, turning to the old man, she said with all the wisdom of a child:

"I made a difference for that one."

And so it is with our warriors!  We make a difference one at a time with the all the compassion and resources we have. And when the nights are dark and all consuming, I will try to remember those that we helped and try to find a way to continue helping those that stand by with so much hope that one day they too can have a service dog by their sides to chase away the nightmares and horror.

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