The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The "Blister Effect"

Greetings Everybody,
Today I am going to share a letter that I just sent off to a U. S. Soldier who is serving in Afghanistan.
Those of you who have been reading me for a while may remember that she is one of my former students...and that before she left for this tour of duty...she asked me to speak at her funeral if she dies.

I have mentioned before that she is not my child, but that she calls me Momma.
And I have mentioned before that she serves on a Med-Evac team...and sees horrible human suffering.

She told me prior to ever leaving that she would need my "Words"...and the grace of God...I gave her some.

I hope that they bless her.
And I hope that they bless YOU when you read them.

In Him,

Here's the letter:

Good Morning,
Its 4:53 am as I start this letter to you...but I know that it will be later when I get through emptying my heart.  You told me that you would need my words... and I have some for you this morning.

I am in the middle of my prayer time...but was called away to write to you...cause I have this feeling that you need me.

Ok...let me tune in to you for a minute and see what I "feel".

Ahhh....are you afraid of the numbness that is creeping over you...the numbness that makes you not feel and not empathize with those in much as you used to?

Are you feeling isolated?

Are you are feeling that the natural highs and lows of life...the heartbeat line of ups and downs...has started to have less highs and less lows?

Are you afraid that you will still be alive as you watch yourself emotionally flatline???

Are you afraid that this is not temporary?

Are you afraid of becoming emotionally zombie-like and unable to fit in to life back home ever again?

These are natural fears.

And the fact that you are aware of feeling like this is a very good sign.

You SEE the contrast and you KNOW the difference between how you WERE and how you now ARE.

You are aware of Good and Evil.
And is it possible that you are yearning for Good in the midst of living around what is EVIL?

Do you yearn for the GOOD and pleasant and happy things of  life?
Do you struggle with the knowledge that you are in the midst of "Doing That Which Is Good" ( your military duty) but wonder how something that is good can be this horrible?

Are you getting tired of the bloodstains on your mind, body, spirit and soul?

Ok...time for a little pulse check here:


You are normal!!!

Though I can not imagine the things you have seen over there, I DO know a thing or two about surviving trauma-filled days.

And this numbness you are starting to like a water-filled blister on your psyche.

Remember when you were younger...wearing shoes that gave you a blister?

Remember how the skin got chaffed and then responded...and the blister puffed up to protect the tender skin and surround it with a comforting water-filled cushion called a "blister"?

God does that for us.

He lets blisters form...when abrasions the skin...and to the mind.

There have been many times in my life when I functioned on automatic pilot.

I was able to drive, eat, sleep, talk to others, and do my job...all behind a "blister" of clouded mental capacity.

I was able to do what I had to do, but emotionally withdraw enough to NOT have to be fully aware of the REALITY of the pain.

And so...I share that with you as a daughter...

Listen to me: What you are feeling is temporary.

It is to be expected.

You are also particularly vulnerable to it right now because of the halfway mark ...6 months till R & R.

That measurement seems daunting doesn't it!
It causes you to check your pace and to look around and wonder if you have the strength to continue this course of duty at the pace you have been running it.

That "I'm halfway" kind of thinking causes a direct conflict with thoughts of Home vs Afghanistan.

...and usually it makes people wonder "WHAT have I  done?"

Oh, you are too proud to admit that you have thoughts like that..."what have I done?" by joining the army and getting my hiney stationed in Afghanistan.

You will re-frame it...and you will cite duty and honor and "I just want to do a good job" and all sorts of other platitudes...but I know it's there.

And's ok that THAT thought is there.

The Army will tell you that its NOT Ok...but it is.

I wouldn't advise you to spend all of your time thinking about it...but it's ok to acknowledge that you sometimes ponder the course of actions and choices that have lead you to where you are today.

And I will tell you this:
I believe that PEOPLE are the sum total of all of the thoughts and experiences that they have ever had.

I believe that PEOPLE who do not ponder their lives are either too stupid to do so, or lack the courage to do so.

I believe that the Unexamined Life is not much of a life.

So,  as you are living in "The Blister"...don't be afraid of the mental numbness.  
It's temporary.
Your medical training in Trauma will validate what I am telling you today.

(Afterall, Just ask any woman who has ever given birth...she knows a thing or two about putting her mind on auto-pilot and getting the "job" done. And even MORE...Women will tell you that the memories of the drama & trauma of labor & delivery fade.  We always remember that it was difficult...but we do NOT Re-Live each contraction in our memories.)

Let's re-visit a few other things while I have you here:
1.  This loneliness and feeling abandoned that you are fatigue and hormones and wanting to be valued for WHO you are not WHAT skills you possess in your given career.

2.  This hardening of your heart is a response to feeling that loneliness, and it is a normal response too.  It's a form of self protection, and it will NOT always be needed.

3.  Many people begin to embrace bitterness or anger during their times of duty...cause both of those emotions run deep... and if you are feeling either one of them at least you are feeling SOMETHING...and feeling something seems less awful than only feeling NUMB.

4.  The anger isn't YOU.

5. The loneliness isn't YOU.

6  What "works" for men will  probably NOT "work" for you....cause women are wired differently.  We value tenderness and courtesy and respect and we DIG the idea of being a a team member with others. We value being able to "contribute" and be "a part" of something.  But we do NOT generally adopt the "kill or be killed" mentality that men seem to so readily take on.

7. The men surrounding you are NOT at their best right now. They can not turn off the "survival instincts" and meet you on a gentler and more compassionate plain.

8.  YES you will date normal guys again.:)

9.  NO you are not doomed to live around these monkeys all of your life

10.  Jesus understood about sending the tender-hearted out in to the cruel world. And he told his disciples...

  " I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16

And there you have it...the mindset and the set of actions...

Keep your head sharp and your actions pure.

Contrary to many other writers, I tell you that to keep ones Head Sharp and ones Actions Pure IS your calling right now: THIS is the ART of it physical, mental or spiritual.

It's a dance...the mind and the body.
And they must move in tandem for the dance to be done correctly.

Get your head right!
You are OK.
And you WILL Be OK.
And what you are experiencing is only "The Blister Effect".

I love you darlin'!



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