Tag Archives: veterans

Peace, Be Still

 

sea people service uniform
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It was combat. Young, hardened faces tensed with the desperation of wavering hope.

Soldiers strapped to their guns, pinned down in the safest place and surrounded by mines, had been holding their precarious position for five months. Over one hundred of their teammates, comrades, and friends had been carried off and buried. There was no time for grief. No room for sentiment. 

Who would be next, no one knew.

From the outside, it appeared that order and discipline in the form of rank and file remained intact. A lieutenant was in charge now, having assumed the role after the captain and commander were killed. 

However, tempers flared. Brave chatter had morphed into a single thought.

HOLD.

Hold out, hang in there, stay the course, keep yourself together, don’t think too much, don’t lose focus, push away the emotions, calm your nerves… hold. Above all, remember those who die are heroes. Your sacrifice is secondary to the mission.

HOLD! 

D-day was traumatic for all concerned. The above scene is merely make-believe, based on a fictional television portrayal of war.* In reality, soldiers face menacing scenarios. On D-Day, the fight was horrific. It is reported that the few survivors remaining still can relive moments on that beach in France in 1944 like it was last week. 

Soldiers who stood their ground in actual wars, survivors of others’ sacrifices, the wounded, and otherwise affected men and women veterans – these are worthy and in need of our support and gratitude. They are not the only ones with difficult memories.

Beside them stand victims of abuse and torture in the human trafficking world,  witnesses to domestic violence or other crimes,  and people who survive mass shootings. Even these are but a small sample of the total number of people traumatized by literal and figurative foxholes. 

Well after one has healed physically, unresolved trauma may pin down the mind. Relief is incomplete. Symptoms of PTSD or other anxiety disorders are part of an ongoing struggle.  In the middle of run-away anxiety, often there remains a single thought.

HOLD. 

For years  my battles against unwanted thoughts were daily lost.  Learning some therapeutic strategies helped immensely. Still it seemed this was to be my forever normal –  make a choice, grow anxious, take time to recover, repeat. 

The break in that cycle came when I discovered more release and calm turning to the Lord Jesus than in any strategy I’ve tried.  It is not a passive insta-cure. However, he grants me rest from hanging on for dear life. 

While learning to heal from trauma, his words are rich with calm. “Peace, be still.” Years of practice have taught me to trust him.  Knowing he will never leave or forsake me,  I can release my hold, and just be held.

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 4:39

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

*Star Trek Next Generation

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Expressing Memorial Day Gratitude

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

We toss around the term “love” easily enough. We love baseball, hot dogs, and good movies. We love music, Fridays, shopping, and our phones. Yet we use the same word to describe our feelings toward romance, our families, and God.  

Strange word. Let us consider what love has to do with Memorial Day. 

Love is action, not always feelings

With regard to those who gave up their lives for our freedoms and safety, it is safe to say they died for love.  It is impossible that they had warm feelings for each person they never met. However, their sacrifices still benefit us. They loved their country, and that is enough.

Love is not only feelings, but actions

Army nurse Jennifer Moreno was killed in action in Afghanistan when she chose to reach her wounded comrades despite the danger from mines.  Moving toward the soldiers with medical aid, she gave her life when a mine detonated. 

Feelings for her injured brothers-in-arms were obviously strong. Backed by an unselfish decision, we see that her love was proven by her action.  

Love beyond feelings of gratitude

This weekend every year in the United States,  we take some time to honor those who died in combat. Without a doubt, their ultimate gifts deserve our gratitude. One way we can express our thanks is to advance our understanding and care for those wounded veterans who survived.

PTSD, physical disabilities, mood disorders, homelessness, family needs – it all calls for our attention. Love that takes action and faces these societal issues is showing the gratitude that living men and women veterans earned. Those who died would not want their comrades forgotten.

That’s what love has to do with it.  Think about that.

Have a Meaningful Memorial Day

 

 

**********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

Memorial Day and Living Sacrifices

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden  

On Memorial Day we rightfully remember those who died protecting our freedoms.

While most Americans no doubt are grateful for our veterans’ courage, sacrifice, and loyalty, we tend to not pay much attention to what surviving veterans continue to struggle against. Society in general does not accept or appreciate the mental price paid by so many. 

Some veterans  come home with what used to be called combat fatigue. Now it is known as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.  If society does not allow discussions about PTSD in polite company, veterans and others are shut-down from talking about their great challenge. 

Recently a man sued a public business for taking offense at his service dog. He has PTSD, and no one there respected that fact. “Just get over it,” I can imagine them saying. “Leave your dog outside.”

But his dog is what keeps him able to go out independently into public businesses in the first place.  He is better for having a trained working dog who senses his master’s rising anxiety and knows how to ground him and bring him back. If only we as citizens were as smart as that dog!

If we are truly grateful, we will learn. The internet makes it easy for us to read up on PTSD on reputable sites. New education will grow our insight. We can talk knowledgeably about PTSD, and expand society’s acceptance.

This Memorial Day and beyond, let’s grow in understanding the ongoing sacrifice many of our veterans pay.

********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.