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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, May 30, 2011

PTSD

This post is a follow-up to Dreams and could well have been titled Dreams II, More Dreams or some such thing. It is also intended as a tribute to the caring young women and men who try to make the world a better place by serving in the Armed Forces. If you missed the original Dreams post and would like to go back and read it you can still do that by clicking on the highlighted and underlined word.

As an aside, I would like to say a special “thank you” to Steve and one anonymous writer who contributed dreams of their own to that conversation. Others shared privately by email. Your dreams can still be added to either post and are still welcome.

On Sunday morning, on my way to one of our numerous CEM congregations, I was driving at just the right time to catch hour two of Michael Enright’s The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio One. Included in this segment of the show was a short, radio documentary on a young Canadian man who enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the ripe old age of Seventeen. You can listen to the podcast of Jacob Davis Mendelow’s fascinating and enlightening story by clicking here.

For the benefit of those who cannot take time to listen to this podcast (you can also download it to your I-Pod or MP3 player for later), this is the story of a Canadian seventeen-year-old who wanted to make a difference. His goal was to make the world a better and safer place following the attacks of September 11, 2001. This report on Jake’s experience concerns his struggle after returning home from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He was both physically injured and “bouncing off the walls” with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He now makes a difference by sharing his experience with others, particularly health professionals whose task it is to work with returning veterans with PTSD.

I was particularly interested in this documentary because of a young man in my own extended family. In addition to being a husband and father, Robb is a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. While he tells me he has never been formally diagnosed with PTSD, he had numerous (I am no longer sure if it was seven or ten) improvised explosive devices or IEDs blow up under his truck while serving in Afghanistan. At this point in his journey, about a year after returning from that tour, the net result is that he no longer sleeps, or at least no longer sleeps well or through the night. Will this be a life-long after-effect? Will other emotional scars yet emerge? We do not know.

The point of all this is a dream for our world when it is no longer necessary to send young women and men into situations where they will be subject to such soul-scarring and life-altering trauma and death. That is an audacious dream to be sure. It seems impossible and is certainly out of reach in my lifetime. Such a world would necessitate having found better ways to deal with many problems including poverty, aggression, and differences in ideology. Such a world is conceivable, however, and one we need to work toward. This is the ancient vision of prophets such as Ezekiel and Isaiah. It is a worthy dream.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. – Isaiah 2:4

Posted by Carman

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