November 9, 2013

To Love a Veteran.


“Courage is grace under pressure.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

No one ever moves through their life imagining who they will end up falling in love with, based on initial encounters, or even the slightest of deal breakers.

We meet, we date, we have quality time together, we learn more about who they are, we are curious about what they say and why they say it, we gravitate towards their enjoyments and hobbies and we continue to be our own selves and have our own interests.

We don’t complete each other—but rather—compliment and inspire each other, we laugh uncontrollably in the arms of togetherness, we have a dual mission and a purpose, we get through the tough times with understanding and respect, we offer kindness and support when one is going through struggles and challenges and we actually admire each other from the get-go.

We marvel at their accomplishments and pinch ourselves that we are fortunate enough to have met someone so different and worthy of our time and energy.

We learn. We evolve. We commit to the love and walk the path together.

This is about that kind of man; a true salt-of-the-earth guy who has faced more severity in his life than any of us creative right-brained folk can fathom.

What he endured through years of hardship in one foreign country after another still amazes me. He has now opened up and blossomed on the other side. He is a veteran of great magnitude. He served our country for more than 15 years, both in active duty, and as a reserve in the Army. He was never wounded on his outside body, yet his insides hold onto the lingering energy of being in those dreadful situations.

His various job positions during his time in service helped other soldiers learn about the value of honesty, integrity, leadership, and being a good man.

Fast forward many many years later, and here is that same man helping others realize how to live an abundant life in their own personal development and business, mainly because he has walked his own talk by drawing upon his sacrifices and experiences from his past. He is humble and forthright.

He is a living example of a true veteran.

He is not a bad boy at all, thankfully. For this, and numerous other reasons, I happen to be in love with him.

Veterans Day is one of those poignant “holidays” in November where we, as a country, unite and honor those who have served for the greater good of society and the world.

Gazing at photos of elderly men and women donning their old uniforms, visiting grave sites of their fallen soldiers, and participating in parades across the country with the utmost in respect, I always did (and still do) tear up and wondered what it was tugging at me eons ago while watching this spectacle.

Well, now I know why.

I love this veteran (and possibly have been for longer than I can remember) with all my heart. I sometimes feel the pain that he witnessed and lived while stationed overseas. I did not know it then, but in the deepest wells of my being, I must have had a clue.

My own grandfather served in World War II. A disciplined man, he had layers of stories to tell while tending to his rose garden every day and insisted we all dine together as a family when we were visiting the grandparents in Ohio. Those were the days, as war stories were never my thing, but I listened.

I’m not a fan of conflict, as anyone who knows me understands that about me. Yet, I appreciate and respect the mere mention of men who have gone to war, men who have served our country for months or years only to return to their families with the best of their abilities to satisfy a happy home life, and men who are struggling today to come to terms with integrating into a new work life in society.

These are the veteran challenges.

So many are accustomed to leaving home at such an early age, being disciplined in ways we couldn’t even grasp, following routines of order and rules, living in fear of the “enemy,” and residing among the most meager conditions.  What they go through on a daily basis isn’t half of what I know, as the generous and noble ways of my current veterans’ love cannot always “go there” due to the memories.

Veterans are not a dime a dozen. They are heroes.

They are the backbone of striving for worldly peace through service that unfortunately results in violence. It is a double-edged sword for their mental state, as they are following the orders of our commander in chief with a do-good attitude.

They are stretched to their limits every day, and pushed into the limelight as they go about their business of tackling our government demands in dealing with other countries. Joining the military is hardly a cake walk and a paycheck, and neither is the severity of going to war.

Sure, some men leave home in their teens and never look back, all the while thinking that they never knew what to do with their lives, as opposed to following the “normal” path of college after high school. But, it is those men who continue to live a decent life of service, whether at home or in career, and understand the full value of respect. They are committed and loyal. They have the wherewithal to never complain about pain or injustice; but to quietly go about conducting their business.

Not all are lucky to survive.

Most have the best of intentions and carry it through to the end. Many attend college after years in the service, getting an honorable discharge, then going off to complete their education with high awards and merits.

Yet, thousands are simply fighting to survive in their new outside world.

It doesn’t take much to love a veteran. My man is one. His passion for helping others, as well as his leadership in life and work, show me more of why I had an affinity towards a man in a uniform when I was younger. Now, during these older more current years, and my appreciation far surpasses above all else.

He is a veteran, and I am one grateful woman to spend my days with him. Thank you T, for your ongoing service in life and love. I celebrate you.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Wikimedia Commons.}

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