In war, people are always the one’s that lose. There’s just no way around it. We’ve witnessed the destruction of humans against other humans from the beginning of time, this ongoing need for power and control and to fight a war from within and outwardly. No, I have never had the experience of combat. I don’t know Iraq from Afghanistan. I’ve never seen the wilderness of Vietnam, which claimed the lives of many. I wouldn’t be able to give all the details of world wars that have been fought. For that matter, the older I get, I’m not even quite sure I know for sure what happened in those hallowed days and years of the civil war of this country.
But I’ve heard and read the stories. I’ve heard the statistics of those who have taken their lives, never quite recovering from their time in far distant lands, armed for battle against the one at that time who had been deemed the enemy. This year alone close to 1900 have taken their lives by suicide. We never know. Maybe they were fragile upon entering war, being pushed to the brink when seeing the destruction of human life. Maybe they could no longer handle the war that they had left, or for that matter, the war that they continued to fight within themselves. In war, people are always the one’s that lose, even those that can pat themselves on the back as champions, defenders of freedom, the one’s who defeated the enemy and those who terrorize. Yet, as we see, so many may physically leave the battleground but the battleground often never leaves them.
No, I don’t know combat, but I know war. I know what it’s like to maneuver through the land mines of the battlefield that I have fought within myself, at times feeling like reaching a cliff with no place to go but off. Not always knowing where to step for fear that what I have known would somehow explode and destroy. There are those that I feared, ready to aim at me for any wrong move, needing to live with fear and anxiety that somehow, with one misstep, life would end. There’s the dodging of grenades that have been planted within me, often by myself and yet some by others, ready to take me down for fear of my own shadow, fragile and sensitive. There has been that shadow of war that has often followed me and at times, have even had to surrender to, that despite never experiencing combat, I have known war, in my own way.
Over time it has intrigued me all the more to want to minster to those who continue to carry the pains of war with them. Although I can’t be there, I have been there through the war that I have fought and always thought I had to win, but no, not always. Since moving beyond war and battle within myself, I have had a greater appreciation for those who not only have to fight the battle within, but for those who see it first-hand, on the front-lines. Before their very eyes, and listening to so many of their stories, they had to see out there what most of us can only experience within, and on a level none of us can ever begin to imagine.
In war, people are always the one’s to lose. There has never been war that hasn’t left people bitter, angered, divided, conflicted, or even resentful, hurt, and in all reality, dead. It is the sad reality; and as time goes on, not only on the battlefield, but upon return. The sleepless nights, the ongoing nightmares, the hypersensitivity, the lack of control, to only name a few, and on top of it, hearts that are deeply wounded from experiencing death square in the face; often to young to even begin to understand. And when all is said and done, they too must face their own death. The loss of innocence. The loss of peace. The loss of the person they thought they were and knew. The loss of relationships. The loss of hope in a better tomorrow. For what it seems, the loss of light.
Oh, how my heart aches for them and desires to walk with them, for the battle they face upon return is the battle we all face at one point or another, a war that never seems to end. We seek out the mentors and guides who can help us navigate through the land mines. We seek out help in navigating what we have called, enemy territory. We seek wisdom to go into a battle we now must face, not in a distant land, or maybe it is; but in a different way, deep within us only to be led out of the battle field, yes wounded and healed, but with a renewed sense of purpose and an understanding of who I am. Now, and only now, upon being discharged from the well fought fight and surrender, am I ready to bring hope to a war-torn world. We thank those who have gone to those lost parts of the world, and so often given their lives and continue to do so. We thank those who have been the guides leading us into and out of the far distant world and lost parts of our interior wars and battles. Yes, in war the people always lose, but it never has to be the end.