"...Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" --Alma 37:6

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Protect Us Now Our Fight is Ended

As he lay in bed that Fourth of July, the sounds of fireworks resulted in involuntary jumps and moments of real fear. In his mind's eye he saw sand, dirt, heavy boots, HUM-V's, and camouflage. The sound of a comrade's last breath was deafening. These images haunted him daily, but such holidays made the pain more acute and torturous. 

He tried to focus on the next day's plans, his trip to the unemployment office, then to the welfare office, but that depressed his mood even further. His visions of being hailed as a hero, given a hero's welcome, and government support flew out the window (if he had window).  The winter wind howled through the alleyway and into his makeshift lean-to. He pulled his worn and dingy coat tighter around his body. 

When he had returned from the war, he received smiles and a pat on the back. After only a week back, the nightmares started. At first they were simply traumatic dreams, but then he began to see them in daylight too. He knew he needed help, but the military gave no aid, the care at the local VA hospital was neglectful to say the least, and with no luck finding employment he had no way of paying the medical costs. 

Soon, he could no longer afford the apartment, the car, or anything else required for living. He soon found comradery within the local homeless community. It turned out the community was made of veterans just like him. The local homeless shelters did what they could, but they had only so much room. The daily hot meals were something to be grateful for however, especially during the cold winter months. 

As the sounds of the fireworks finally began to die down, to the peace of silence, he could finally breath without anxiety. He could hear his comrades checking in on each other and giving comfort. They all had nightmares. It felt good to know he wasn't the only one enduring emotional distress. 

Before drifting off to sleep, he said a silent prayer,

"Father, we are thy sons,
who fought for freedoms won

Please take us in thy warm embrace,
so that we can rest someplace.

Our country's freedom we so defended,
Protect us now our fight is ended. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Over-sized T-Shirts

She would never forget that night. His car was all packed and Mom and Dad were unusually quiet and still. She sat at the bottom of the stairs wearing his huge over-sized T-shirt as her pajamas. She had come to see his big shirts she wore, as a protection. A reminder that she was safe and loved.

That night changed everything.

She was only a child and didn't fully understand the circumstances that had led to that night. At 25, she still didn't entirely know. What she did know was that trust and hope went up in flames.

She convinced herself she was fine. Saying, "I'm fine" with a fake smile became a reflex and a real smile came very difficultly. They became few and far between. She became so good at it, no one even noticed a difference between real and fake. She even managed to convince herself she was fine. She was just sucking it up, dealing with it, handling life, and moving on. None of which are necessarily bad.

When used as a defense mechanism, they can cause more harm than good.

She went on with life clinging to her, "I'm fines" and, "No worries". When she got to college, she began to slowly hope. She had even more friends and a few saw straight through her facade.

One day, she met someone. He gave her attention, focused it all on her. She felt like the center of his universe. She dared to hope even more. He reminded her of another young man. His over-sized t-shirts still in her pajama drawer. That young man, with his packed up car, left and she had felt helpless.

She didn't want to be/feel helpless again. Subconsciously, she determined to help him, fix him, keep the past from happening again. She opened up and allowed herself to fall in love. The red flags were everywhere but she ignored them. She was going to get it right this time no matter what.

But it was not meant to be.

She was forcing something that he wasn't ready for. She pushed too hard and realized too late her mistake. The day he left, was another moment she would never forget.

It was the end of one of many long days of class and work. He had come over just as he had every night that semester. As they sat relaxing on the couch, he asked a question. He was looking for an argument  and she fell into his trap. Their argument grew louder. Soon her roommates became caught up in it.

He was losing and the truth of all those ignored red flags came crashing in with a deafening awkward silence full of glares and heavy breaths. With that it was over. He left. Without another word he was gone.

With that, all her new-found hope and trust dissolved. Flashes of over-sized t-shirts and a packed car flew through her mind and into her dreams.

She had failed again. She felt utterly defeated. There was no hope and no one to trust. The next two years sped by in a blur of KFC mac & cheese, ice cream, and extreme slothfulness. Without hope she felt lost and extremely afraid.

Then, at a Singles camp out, she met someone who reminded her where true hope comes from and in whom she can always trust.

Thus the healing process has begun. It is a slow process, but one that is worth the journey.

"Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Future Path

As I lay here trying to decide what to write about several thoughts flurry through my mind. It has been a long time since I have posted anything new to this site and I feel as though I have neglected a crucial part of myself. It almost as if my writing strength has depleted due to neglect and forgetfulness.

No more neglect. I hope to resurrect this blog and continue to convey emotions and sentiments to those who are avid followers and readers, and to those who come across this blog. 

I do not currently have a specific topic in mind. In fact, I have several things running through my head right now and cannot seem to get them to become coherent trains of thought. When my thoughts do finally align and form into a consistent thought or random moment of wisdom I will be sure to write it down and then post it for you to read. 

Until such time I will leave you with this thought: Many fear the future and yet we know nothing of what resides there. We know only that which is here in the present with us and what has happened in the past. We know the good and bad things that man is capable of and our fear stems from the uncertainty of man's choices in either direction. We have our free agency and our fear comes from not knowing how those around us will choose to express their agency. 

It is comforting to find those around us who choose the same path as what God would have us choose. For we then see that on the straight and narrow path we are not alone. When we fall, there are those around us who will grasp our outstretched hands and use their strength to lift us up and carry us until we can stand on our own two feet again. 

But be aware. There are those who seek to pull you back down. They don't want to see you get back up. They will do all they can to make you believe that there is no one willing to help you. They block your view so that in times of great need you feel all alone. It is in that moment, when the darkness threatens to close in on you, that you must plunge your hand forward in faith and reach for the hand that is always stretched out for you.

Remember too, that for some YOU will be the outstretched hand. Those around us will endure the same darkness we endure and will need us to help them. They need an understanding hand. Someone to say, "Me too. You're not alone. WE can do this." I believe in forever, and forever is a very long time. Take someone with you. Travel with another. Find that person for whom eternity was meant to be with. 

Good night.