Tuesday, February 21, 2012


PV2 Pete's Journey for Help is a look-see at the thoughts and heart of a young soldier who returned to Iowa from deployment to Afghanistan.  He is facing some real struggles integrating into "normalcy:.  His story, while unique, is one that many of the 2,800 that deployed in July of 2010 and returned home the summer of 2011 are experiencing in one form or another.

It'd been over a month since PV2 Pete and I had gotten together.  And we had a lot to catch up on.  Oh, we'd exchanged a few emails and texts but that didn't do much but the scratch the surface on our recent happenings. 

Since our last meeting in mid-January, Pete had experienced some highs and lows.  At least that's what was apparent to me.

Pete's excitability over Rick Santorum's rise in the Republican Presidential polls was evident.  This young Iowa Guardsmen was feeling pride for the effort he put forth in the Santorum surge.  "I'm so happy for Mr. Santorum", said Pete.  "We put in some long days in South Carolina....and we were all hoping people would begin taking notice.  I think they finally have.  I'm looking to see where and when I can volunteer again.  I've never lived through anything like that except when I had bullets flying at my head", he said with a smile. 

As we continued to talk I could see there was something else of concern written on Pete's face.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was sure before our conversation ended, I'd find out.   For the next 15 minutes I was an intent listener.  Pete made me that way.  He had a way in describing minute details and I always relished those moments.  But just when I thought the roll he was on would last for some time, his expression  went cold.         

"Sir, you ever feel like you take two steps forward and three steps back", he started.  I stared at him as I just about spit my coffee back into the cup.  Previous sips of the  Hazelnut blend from Panera Bread had gone down in a soothing way....the recent remark was another matter all unto itself. 

"Pete", I began.  "Pete"....I started again,  "Pete......yeah.  For sure.  We all have.  That's probably why consistency is something we should all strive to attain.  That way the highs are not so high and the lows and not so low.  Why what's up?", I queried. 

"Well....you know how much I've been hoping someone will offer me help in the form of a job or opportunity?  It just hasn't happened.  Waiting, be patient, knocking on doors, making phone calls, sending out resumes....I've tried all types of ways to have that door, so to speak, unlocked.  And nothing happens.  So what I'm saying,  I guess, is that in some parts of my life, I think I'm making some headway...then come the setbacks.  Ya know?"

"Pete, let me share a story with you.....one that I think might be an eye-opener.  All I can say is, we've all most been guilty in holding out that someone will come to our rescue.  But that's a set-up for disappointment.....here's what I mean".             

"Having been brought up in an Asian culture, I believed that having a man in the household was important. I married twice; both marriages ended in divorce. The first man flirted with my housemaid, and the second man loved my money.  Both were unreliable. They brought me misery and heartache.

As years went by, I relied on my only brother, who lived next door. Together we made decisions such as what to do about treating my father’s chronic emphysema. I thought I could count on my brother in the future. Unfortunately, he died suddenly a few months ago.  Now I am left with elderly parents and a sister who suffers from mental illness.  I carry the burden of caring for all my family members.

Since my brother’s death I have come to learn that God is always present when I cry for help. When I make decisions big or small, I pray for guidance.  The Lord not only protects me but also gives me wisdom to handle the struggles of daily life.  Now I no longer worry about finding someone to lean on;  I know I can always rely on God at every moment of my life".

God, can I ask a question?

I looked at Pete and he gave me a nod of understanding.  Not a "whatever" nod, but one that had sunk deep.  But I wasn't done yet...or maybe I should say, God wasn't done yet.....

"Pete, God wants you to know this about him.  Hang onto the verses he wants me to share with you .  Look to them for your help and see if the steps you take become consistent"..... 

My son, if you accept my words
   and store up my commands within you,
 turning your ear to wisdom
   and applying your heart to understanding—

 indeed, if you call out for insight
   and cry aloud for understanding,

 and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,

 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
   and find the knowledge of God. -Proverbs 2:1-5

P.S. Special kudos to Facebook peep Teri Wagonner in her picture post today.  It was perfect for the message.  



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