Sending you the energy of strength and courage today… may you feel held and wanted. You are not your wounds. You are not your limitations. You are not your reaction to war. You are an eternal being experiencing this lifetime. And there is hope and love for you here.

If you are in imminent risk of ending your life, please call 911 or the National Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

I’m thinking about the expectations of healing and how those expectations can trip us up.

A warrior’s wounds do not go away, you don’t unbecome or erase what you’ve experienced. It’s woven into the tapestry of your life, just as every experience you have ever had on earth is still part of you.

It’s human nature to want to numb pain or eradicate it. It’s often necessary and life-saving. But everyone thinks there’s a quick fix to all this. That you do the right steps – and it will go away and be done with. Society pushes that expectation because no one wants to deal with the deeper truths of what war does to the human spirit, mind, body.

No one wants to admit that there are no easy answers or solutions. Spirit wounds may hurt less by meds, but meds do not heal wounds of the heart, mind, soul.

These are deep wounds that fundamentally change you. As war should. Healing has to be a choice. First, a decision to stay alive on this earth, to move toward healing. But it cannot be rushed.

The body is a good example of this. There are some injuries that the body can heal and when the body has completed its healing work, you will not notice a difference. But there are other injuries or diseases that permanently alter your body and how you experience life in your body.

When you have spirit wounds (which are the emotional heart wounds of war) you have a combination of wounds that can heal entirely and some that permanently alter you.

When you are permanently altered, you take steps to address the most immediate pain now and also put into place longer-term strategies to adapt to what the changes mean for you.

You understand that it is going to take time, that healing will come slowly, that somethings will never completely go away. But that you are not your wounds. You are not your limitations. You are an eternal being experiencing life on this earth.

If you believe you are an eternal spirit, that death is nothing more than walking from one room into another — then would it not make sense that you carry all of who you are with you, wherever you go?

So many think suicide ends the pain.

What if it doesn’t?

What if the wounds can only be healed by living through them, by moving at the pace of life, the pace of your soul, by letting new thoughts, perspectives, ways of thinking, growth, development, reshaping and redeeming stories, Love hold you — what if that is how wounds become part of your tapestry?

That may or may not comfort you. It is my experience that it takes lifetimes to heal and accept the wounds warriors carry. That death does not erase the pain, guilt, sense of burden, shame, or the bonds of brotherhood.

We are broken through relationship and we must heal through relationship — that includes our relationship with our Selves, with the Divine and all of humanity.

We are broken when the story we are living explodes chaotically and the roles we have in it take us into dark realms of brutality, violence, death-bearing, loss, grief, mistakes.

We are healed when we start to see the stories from different perspectives and when we remember that we are not the stories we have lived.

We are healed when we turn to Divine Love and ask for help to do what we cannot do on our own. I know the mind clamps down and builds a story around what we’ve experienced that feels absolute. We hold onto our beliefs about what we have experienced and what our role was in it (usually with brutal judgment) and often refuse to allow anything to contradict our version.

We can only be saved by opening.

So open, just a crack, and let the thought in that what you are telling yourself, believing wholeheartedly, is not unchangeable.

What happened in the past is unchangeable. The story we hold about it is not. Grace — and by grace, I mean love, forgiveness, letting go of shame/self-punishment — grace is stronger than pain.

So, I invite you, here and now, to let all of this sit with you and let it touch your heart.

You are loved. And you belong here. And there is no giving up on the power of what Love and the Divine can do in your story.

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