I See You…A Veterans Appreciation
I believe Veteran appreciation is in the heart of most of us but have you actually talked to one lately? This is quite off my norm of discussion.
We usually talk all things Bible study but today I want to talk simple humanity.
I went to Walmart today and just like any other Walmart across the country, they occasionally have a Veteran standing outside the door asking for donations for the local chapter. I said hello politely as I went into Walmart and did my business. When I prepared to walk out, something prompted me to stop and meet these veterans and thank them for their service. I struck up a conversation. I rarely meet a stranger if you didn’t know that about me. I asked him where he served. He responded, “Vietnam”. I explained that my Uncle Jim Murphy had served in Vietnam. He asked me where. All I could remember in the moment was Danang, Vietnam. I have heard my uncle regale this story but in the moment that was all I could recollect.
I’ve loaded a picture of my Uncle Jim here so you can meet him. He is a character and we love him . Not sure if he will ever read this but thank you Uncle Jim for your service. I’ve told you before but I will thank you publicly for what you’ve done for our country. You are one of our families heroes!
Ok! Back to our story of the events of this morning. I asked the Walmart Vietnam Vet greeter, how he’d coped after returning home from Vietnam. He shared a bit of his story. He told me of some of his emotional struggles as a Vietnam Veteran. I won’t get into deep detail because it’s not my story to tell but safe to say his story is not much different than any other story from those returning from Vietnam.
They seem to always include some of these common denominators: guilt, grief, anger and terrible nightmares! He began to tell me of these terrible post war nightmares and that they had lasted for 20 years. One day they stopped!! He begins to tell me when these stopped and at that moment God sits down in my heart. This is why I was meant to have this encounter with this man…. God had me there to encourage him but God had lessons for me to learn.
His struggle with post Vietnam nightmares abruptly stopped in 1991. This sweet man began to share about a vacation to Branson. If you’ve ever been to Branson show, you know often times they will have all those that have served in armed forces to stand up and they’ll give them a public thank you for their service. Well this fellow was no different. Most Vietnam vets didn’t receive a heroes welcome if you didn’t know. This was a war most Americans didn’t want to be in or they thought was unnecessary. So many of them did not receive even as much as a thank you when they returned home. A man from the “show company” came up to him personally, shook his hand and thanked him for his service. This one encounter at a Branson show flipped the script for this gentlemen. After this encounter, his nightmares stopped! The importance and power of having others believe you have worth and are appreciated is powerful my friend !
One act of acknowledgement helped him heal.
Now mind you all this happened on a Walmart stoop this morning! Something had prompted me to stop and engage with this gentleman. It was the Lord because He had a lesson for me to learn from this simple exercise. I’ll just say this… you have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable sometimes to get in on what God wants to teach you.
As I walked away, the Lord started dissecting what I had just experienced. This mans life had shifted because someone thought he was worthy of simple acknowledgment and that his life work was valuable.
Someone’s simple acknowledgement of his life helped him heal…
Grab hold of that thought my friend…
A stranger no less….
When we acknowledge someone it denotes that they have worth.
Someone needs your eye contact…
Someone needs your “thank you”!
Someone needs your simple verbal affirmation that they matter in this world…
I know we are all busy. Walmart is usually a check off on the list of the day but what if…..
what if divine moments of clarity about the importance of your walk on this earth are in simple act of obedience within the “check off” list.
Engaging in the life of another can and will have profound long lasting affects in the lives of others. This wasn’t a super spiritual moment but it was the most profound.
You are needed… You are loved….You are seen….
Love ya, Marni
The Reformed Churchy Girl