"I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps.. and so, the war blog begins, again." ~B

24 September 2009

What's Worth Doing

Yet strip me bare and you will see
A worthy warrior I be;
Although no uniform I've worn,
By wounds of labour I am torn;
Leave them their ribbands and their stars
...Behold! I proudly prize my scars.
~Robert Service, "Decorations"

When you start a journey, you do not know where it will lead. You cannot foresee how it will change you or how you will grow from it. You simply put one foot in front of the other and go.

I have come to the realization that I am unique in a lot of ways. How many people can say they have stood with warriors through five years of war. But I am not so different, in a lot of ways, from Vera Brittain or the Red Cross Girls of Vietnam. They are my sisters in history.

I have had countless amazing and positive experiences. I believe passionately in providing support for our armed forces and continue to actively do so in many ways. I have a strong conviction that this is an absolutely necessary thing. I made a promise to a soldier. I will keep it. And so my work continues.

But nothing worthwhile is easy, without cost. It has taken me awhile to grasp this concept as well. Working with warriors- immersing yourself in the experiences, history, language, mindset, emotions-of war, is hard. I have been emotionally spent.

I have felt emotions that I didn't understand. How can you hear 200+ war stories without taking them into your soul. How can you remain unaffected by the tears, the loss, the death, the pain, the struggle, the intimacy, the insanity, the joy of it all. It took a long time for me to understand that it is ok for me to feel these things. I don't have to feel guilty, because this is my war too. These are my experiences. This is what it is like for me. And sometimes, I have bad days. I haven't physically been on the battlefield, but that doesn't take away the truth of my experience. The truth is, I have been emotionally deployed for awhile. It is ok to admit that these things are hard. It is ok to admit it hurts. It is ok to feel. It is ok to acknowledge that I have scars of my own. I do not have to be ashamed of them. They are not weakness. I can be proud of them. I can be proud of what I have done, too.

This is a work in progress. I am coming to grips with my own role in this war as I help others come to grips with theirs. I am only now able to talk in any depth about it comfortably. I owe many people a debt of gratitude for their role in that- in helping me understand that I need to heal as well- and then helping me do so. To those people, thank you. You know who you are.

I have spoken more about my experiences working with warriors this week then I ever have before. For the first time, I feel like I have little pink scars to show, instead of jagged, open emotional wounds. And I am proud of them.

It has been worth it. I have helped warriors. That makes it all worth it.

For that reason, I'll get up tomorrow and start again.


Maggie said...

I totally agree that this is your calling, and I'm very glad you've found it. Now we just have to convince somebody to pay you for it. :)

Maggie said...

Also. "They also serve who only stand and wait." -Milton