There comes a point in your life, where you realize nothing has ever gone to plan. Or in my case, any plan I might have had, was always pulled back into line by the hand of God. Once you take the ego out of it, things become so much easier. Sometimes I think stubborness is the work of the devil (though not all resistance is bad). But that’s a philosophical conversation that ought to be had in a pub, with a drink, and maybe a book of Yeats nearby.
Some people talk about “keeping their sanity” or staying on “this side of normal.” But what’s normal now, certainly wasn’t even on the horizon of where I thought I would be say –20 years ago. Or how about 30? 40? 50? Well, yes, I am old enough to have a 50 years ago. Normal changes.
I’m bringing this up because many are coming home from war. Who they are now, may not have been on the horizon of their consciousness even 2 years ago. And yet they are changed. The challenge set forth is a false one: that they must get back to who they were before war. But in reality, no one really ever gets back to who they were even 2 years ago. Everything changes, and most of all, your experiences have shaped your perspective in ways you will still be discovering 20 years from now.
Families change too. Spouses, children, parents and friends. You’re not alone in feeling the drift, the growth, regret, hope, nostalgia, and even wistfulness. They’re in as much need of counseling and letting go of the myth everything (meaning you, them, or you and them) will revert back to the way things were. Because they know they won’t, and while they accept and soldier on, it doesn’t make it any less painful. One thing for sure: we can never go back in time. (Sorry, but the VA has yet to develop a Tardis). So never think you’re alone, because change is never easy for everyone. But one thing can make it easier: people you meet who will act as guides.
Just let those guides through an open door once in awhile. Who knows –it could be a person, a book, a poem, a song, a movie, an animal, or it could just be a day when you go outside and take in the open sky, noticing the shades of a sunrise. Some will be long term influences, others will just happen in passing. Look for those that have set off a spark within that compels you to take some positive steps to grow. Growth is change, it happens slowly. And while the mental or physical changes in you might have happened quickly, progress comes one step at a time. It’s not always easy. But just keep going toward the light, and when an open hand comes your way: grasp it.
Side note: Big nod of gratitude to the Nick Vogt Family, whose daily postings about their son’s progress on Facebook have been a window into a family built on unconditional love. We are thankful they share their journey with the public.