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USO (a week later)

IMG_20151102_144812The entire experience left me wanting to do more. To dig deeper into my mine and deliver more comfort. Comfort. Is that really the word for what I was doing? Every other word I thought of using seems pretentious, and I don’t want that image to get in the way.

The final day was not as intense as Tuesday. They focused mostly on financial instruction and communication between couples and children. I did get the opportunity to speak individually with a few special people.

I was lucky to serve those who serve. To share my words and my talents, to make them laugh and ease their burden if only for a short time. I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life.

There’s an image I want to leave you with, and it’s not exactly pretty. One of the presenters showed a video of troops returning home. The families and friends waiting for their loved ones to land. There was a party, hugs, kisses … laughter and tears and long embraces. There were infants and toddlers meeting their fathers for the first time.
And then there were a few warriors standing alone on the fringes. “I don’t have anyone coming.” “My parents couldn’t afford to make the trip.”

I was suddenly very cold. The chill hasn’t left.

This … isn’t fair.

All I can offer you … all of you who served and are serving … is my sincere thank you.

I pray you’re not alone.
I sincerely hope that there’s love where you are.


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Damage. (Warning: Intense words)

He sat on his parent’s bed, at the foot, so that the splatter would be bigger and cover both sides equally. In his mouth was the barrel of his father’s revolver. Pearl handles, expert engraving … really deadly, beautiful engine. He had taken it from it’s hiding place, loaded it and spent time considering the best delivery angle. He could feel the front site digging into the soft tissue on the ceiling of his mouth. He fully cocked the hammer and applied slow pressure on the trigger.
He was thirteen, and he was just done. Done with the pain, done with the abuse and the indifference of callous ‘loved ones’. Done with life.

And then a voice. Inside his head? In his ear? Doesn’t matter. Just four words:
“You’re stronger than this.”

And he let go. Removed the bullets and put the gun away. Lived. Today, he told me (and a group of servicepersons) all about it.

USO, day two.

Suicide. PTSD, Depression … and Spirituality.

Dark and grim, at times. Cut through with truth, foundations and real world exercises in dealing with anguish and stresses. I opened today with ‘This Strange Engine’ (the same version I did for the TED talk). I spoke on relationships, passion, and following the road. “There are no useless cards.”
And I did card tricks.
My topic proved apt as the day progressed. Difficult topics were explored. Hearts were revealed, some in between sessions. I listened and I shared. I was able to boost morale a bit with an impromptu show during lunch.

I made friends with a remarkable group of people …

In the midst of my darkness, there is love. When I was at my lowest, I was sent rescue. Strong friends and positive voices in my head. Sure, it’s ‘kinda woo’, but I have faith in the power of love.

I realize that today’s post is rambling, so let me just say:

Reach out. REALLY reach out.
Love, even those who seem unlovable.
Believe in the unbelievable power of your gift, the unfailing direction of your road.
Damage can be healed.

Love. Wins.


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