Today I went to Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA for some physical therapy (yes, I'm an 80 year old woman). I was NOT wearing Depends or using a walking stick so I feel like I'm still young at heart (on the inside anyway). It was actually crazy, I was walking down the halls looking at all of the people in uniform wishing I could stand in their shoes for a second. If I could just live their life only for a moment, then I could find out why some of them look so sad, so determined, so numb, so joyful...what's going on in each of their lives at that very moment? As a chaplain's wife, after hearing all of the sad and happy stories the military has to offer, I can conjure up many outlandish possibilities at the feelings/stories of these service members. When I think of the internal battles these poor sailors and soldiers face, sometimes I want to just stop and hug them. It's just the silly way I think hugs heal wounds. I hate sometimes that we can't fix sad people. What can I say to help them know that it will be ok?
The truth is, I can't say anything. The only thing that will fill them up is Christ's love.
I was also stricken with awe (as I started therapy in the naval hospital) at the amount of men and women (both active and our dear vets) who have been wounded in battle. The crazy part was, the age range was vast. Though some were barely 20, and others in their 80's--their determination was the same. These men that I saw (most of them missing a limb with clearly evident body wounds) would just close their eyes, as if to recall their former self, and work out as hard as I've ever seen. Maybe they close their eyes and dream of a future self, with less pain??? Maybe they close their eyes to shut out the rest of us and just focus on healing. In any case, they are such hero's to me. I wanted to stop my "stupid little back therapy" (which seems less important when these guys are around) and make an "announcement" to the entire room. I wanted to literally stand on a chair and proclaim my thanks..."You sir, have made the ultimate sacrifice and I have no way to repay you but to say this...". I did not make my proclamation today, but give me time my friends. In some capacity I plan to thank these men/women I see in therapy, even if just with a friendly smile:)
I am blessed. I go to sleep and wake up next to my groom who serves our country every day. He spends his time hearing about the hardest inner and outer turmoils you can imagine. He even counsels over the phone after work sometimes....and I am so proud to be his wife. He has not been physically wounded, and for that I am thankful! He does however bare wounds, he bares them WITH his men and women. The wounds that are hidden. He helps work them to the surface so they can work them out like painful splinters (once out, healing begins). Friends, the men and women of the armed forces are hurting. They need so much love and support it's crazy. Mostly because they are deployed so often. Mostly because they miss the birth of their children or the death of their children or loved ones. They miss their family, their home. They've got little splinters inside that need working out...I'm pretty sure Christ is the only one with such a delicate touch, He removes internal splinters...
How comfortable are you today? Cozied up in your comfy chair, checking email, Facebook, or blogs? Imagine living in a desert or on a ship. Imagine life without all of the creature comforts you have.... then imagine taking all of your loved ones away. There you have it. Pray for your troops, because they ARE YOUR TROOPS... after all. Nothing hurts my heart more than when we are not supportive of our men and women in uniform.
Next time you see someone whether active, or vet...thank them, I know I will!