Monthly Archives: August 2013

Understanding the Warrior

Warrior

Inside a café in a Midwestern town sits a man in his forties.  He sits alone gazing out the window remembering things others would find painful and hard to bear.  Many people in the café have thought of approaching him; however, they sense stoicism, matter-of-factness, and at times vacant lucidity.  They ask themselves questions like: “Why is he like this? Why does he stare all the time? Why the same coffee type? The same meal type? Why doesn’t he try something new or different? What is it about him that makes me apprehensive about starting a conversation with him?”

If only they knew; if only they had the courage to push past the protective walls that have been constructed over the years.  You see, this man, when in his twenties started out life effervescent and adventuresome, seeing positivity in everything he encountered.  One day while seeking something larger than him; he joined the military.  Four years went by and then it happened.  He ended up trading his youthful effervescent and vulnerable self for seriousness, matter-of-factness, and emotional vacancy.  During the first four years of his military career, he found himself in a combat zone facing the seriousness of pain, death, and performance.  He went on with his career for over sixteen more years, repeatedly finding himself in the same situations while learning even better how to put up emotional walls, and build upon his performance base as coping mechanisms.

Here are the answers to some of the questions above:  

Why does he stare all the time?  He stares, because blinking would mean that he was no longer vigilant. And because his mind is stained by the blood of his buddy. 

Why the same coffee and meal type? Because, field mess and MRE’s didn’t afford the luxury of a full variety menu; eating was a necessity not a hobby.  

Why doesn’t he try something new or different? He has become suspicious of new and different things.  Changes to his environment warrant a call to EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

What is it about him that makes me apprehensive about starting a conversation with him? He’s a warrior, and he puts off facial and physical repellents, familiar to other warriors only, in hope that those who don’ t have the courage or want to understand him will leave him alone.

Deep down inside, the warrior’s only hope is that once again he can learn what is like to feel.  You see, “We train our warriors to use controlled violence and aggression, to suppress strong emotional reactions in the face of adversity, to tolerate physical and emotional pain, and to overcome the fear of injury or death. (Brene Brown)”

If you want to help a veteran: Walk with them, talk with them, and above all else help them find the vulnerability they walked away from for your protection.  But, if you aren’t willing to go the distance; then don’t start the journey.

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The Same Spirit

Our Brother in The Lord; Joe F. asked a question on FB a while ago.  It was something like this “Of all the characters in the bible, both OT and NT.  What character do you most identify with?”  I believe this was an awesome question.  I believe it helps us understand each other and our self on a deeper level.  I don’t particularly remember how I answered the question.  However, I do remember why I chose the characters I did.  I chose them because I could relate and identify with them.  However, the majority of the things I identified with were the character’s weaknesses. Hardly, did I identify myself with their strengths.  I believe this told me something about how I saw myself.  Maybe I was so content in identifying with a biblical character, that I forgot to realize, the Holy Spirit in me, allows me to identify with their strengths as well.

Apostle Peter has been on my mind lately.  I have been wading through the book of Acts.  Specifically, Acts 9:40; this is where Peter called upon the Spirit of Christ within him to bring Tabitha (Dorcas) back to life.  After reading this I see Peter in a different light.  No longer do I see him as the guy who made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions.  No, I now see him as a man who unconditionally believed in Jesus, a man who constantly stepped out in faith, and a man who believed in all the promises given to him by Jesus.  On one occasion he saw Jesus raise a young girl (Mark 5:41).  So, Peter, believing he was filled with the Spirit of Christ and its power, knew he could help.  It was Peter’s faith which convinced him he could do what Jesus said he could and He did.  I challenge you to follow the accounts of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) and Tabitha (Acts 9).  You will see that Peter followed Jesus example very closely.  The one difference that stands out:  Jesus stood and said, “Arise” whereas, Peter kneeled as said, “”Tabitha, sit up.”  The contrast here is to show that Christ is the only one who brings people to life.  Peter understood this, and in reverence to the Spirit of Christ, he remained kneeling as the Holy Spirit worked to breathe life into Tabitha.  Peter himself may not have brought Tabitha to life; however, his faith provided Holy Spirit opportunity to do so.

Joe, my Brother, I thank you for such a thought provoking question.  I now realize, because of the Holy Spirit inside of me.  I no longer have to feel inadequate, when it comes to wondering if I have the same Spirit and the same Power within me

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