I sat on the train the other day with a soldier. He was the same age as me. We enlisted at the same time actually, only now he was a high ranking officer and in charge of a large part of our military.
We swapped stories and as we talked....I noticed something.
He shared stories that soldiers normally only share with other soldiers that civilians just don't understand, but as he spoke....I noticed I had forgotten some of those old "comfort zones" and things I was once comfortable doing to achieve my goal or mission.....I was no longer comfortable with. I found myself shocked, and happily so, because it meant.....I've begun to heal.
Each of us in the service of our country has our own scars to heal, depending on what we did, where we did it, what our role was, our mission, etc.
It has bothered me a long time that I liked things I didn't feel like I should like and that I had triggers (not knobs, not sliders, not switches, not dials, not settings.....triggers).
I am a veteran and am proud of it. But I am so much more. My best years are still ahead of me. I know when I was in my teens in the Navy I had more responsibility and power and authority and energy and discipline and training than most men will ever get or see over an entire lifetime - my glory days. But having been healing, growing, learning more of the gospel - it makes me sad to see men older than me to whom that seems to be the highlight of their lives. Though I understand perfectly well how it happens.
Yes, it was a grand time! Yes, it was amazing! But the work's not over!
Come home. Heal. Serve your family. Make a new one if needs be and remember the former one. Find your balance. Put your training to use. Assimilate. Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. Win. Be fulfilled. Find meaning. Build. Serve. Rest.
And grow again.
I'm grateful now I can look at people I don't know and wonder what their eternal story is, what their mission is, and how I can help them accomplish their story - rather than what I used to see. Life is better now. Sounds seem not to impact me as much - machine gun fire, slamming doors, voices, revving engines, footsteps, screaming.....all troubling sounds but....so much more after all that.
I'm glad I'm healing.