The four-year-old jumps out of her hiding place. “Boo!”
Susie is expecting a fun reaction from her daddy, but his face quickly turns from delight to confusion. Instead of grabbing her playfully into his arms, he begins backing away, sweat pouring down his face.
Susie tilts her chin down as her eyes fill with tears. She can’t hear her daddy’s heart pounding as he bolts out of the room, looking for a safe place. But none exist—not since he returned from the battle field
“Why won’t daddy play with me?” Susie cries on her mom’s shoulder.
The former soldier’s wife holds her. “Your daddy is still getting used to being home again after fighting in a war. He heard a lot of loud noises and saw some pretty scary stuff. Instead of surprising Daddy like that, why not show him the games on your closet shelf?”
Steve hears them talking and tries to shake off the familiar hopelessness, fearing he will never be the man he once was. He picks up his Bible and re-reads the verse he underlined that morning:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (Psalm 29:7 ESV).
Steve closes his Bible and prays. He knows it will take time, but eventually he will be okay.*
I think about our guys like Steve, especially when I see TV ads that solicit support for our wounded veterans. I wonder how they’re coping after returning from war.
For example, how do they deal with post-traumatic stress disorder? Or how hard is it for them to learn to dress themselves with a severe brain injury, or to raise a child after losing their sight, or to hug their spouse with two prosthetic arms? Most of us will never know such hardship.
I doubt we will ever come to appreciate their (and their families’) sacrifice enough – much less how to return the favor. But I hope we as a nation – and individually – will never stop seeking ways to do so.
*A fictional story
What about you?
You can use a pseudonym (fake name) when commenting.
- Do you (or someone you know) suffer with PTSD after serving in the military? Or are you dealing with some other war-related disability or issue?
- If so, would you mind sharing your story – or how we can pray for you?
Photo © Elliot Burlingham | Dreamstime.com