Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This weekend should mark the final Welcome Home Celebration for the more than 2,800 Iowa National Guard troops that deployed to Afghanistan last July. There have been collective reliefs all over the Hawkeye State thankful for the safe return of soldiers.  And well there should be. 

A support group provides a constant ROCK

This past weekend, I was visiting with a Guard Officer about our son's experience in Afghanistan and his arrival home a little over a week ago.  We began talking about a support group for the soldiers and how my wife and I were feeling pulled to that mission.  It was the words he shared with us shortly thereafter that stopped me in my tracks.  "We'll begin seeing some radical behavior in the coming weeks....some suicidal", he said.  "And as we get closer to the Holiday season, we'll see a spike in that same area".  It wouldn't be surprising to see more than 50 cases, maybe more, he went on to say.  So, what do we do?  Do we walk around the situation without talking about the elephant in the room?  I think not.  Here is a beginning:  

C.S. Lewis said that God whispers to us in joys, speaks to us in our conscience and shouts to us in our pain.  In our joys, it is as though He is whispering in a crowded auditorium of His immense, outrageous love for us-but we can't hear.  We're too busy.  We're too enmeshed with our friends, our joys and our lives. 

He tries again to speak to us through our conscience, but we don't slow down enough to listen.  Our hearing aid is on low, because we're engaged with so many things.  Without purposeful listening, the communication process is not complete.

But the Hound of Heaven is persistent in His love and concern, so He shouts...through pain.  He finally has our attention.  And in the pain of loneliness He says, "You are My child in whom I'm well pleased.  Now I'm going to lead you through the desert so that you can taste Me, touch Me, see Me, hear Me in new ways.

Loneliness is not a time of abandonment...it just feels that way.  It's actually a time of encounter at new levels with the only One who can fill that empty place in our hearts.

Loneliness need not be an enemy...it can be a friend.

Loneliness need not be an interruption in our lives..it can be a gift.

Loneliness need not be an obstacle..it can be an invitation.

Loneliness need not be a problem....it can be an opportunity.

Loneliness need not be a dead end...it can be an adventure!

It has been said, "Loneliness leaves its traces in man but these are marks of pathos, of weathering, which enhance dignity and maturity and love.

We'll talk more about the reintegration process in the coming weeks.  Realize everyone processes things in their own ways.....some want to run and some isolate.  Loneliness can be a maturing process, that's a given.  But it can also signal something else.  Stay Awake and Be Alert.....



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