returning from war

in 7th grade i had a homeroom teacher who had just returned from viet nam.
the first day of class,
he said war was so horrible, he didn’t want us to ask questions.
very firmly, very politely, he repeated his request.
he told us if he felt like sharing a story,
he would. 
i was glad he explained that to me.
for years i had watched war clips on the news.
i hadn’t been mature enough to associate
pain, loss and suffering with statistics
and pictures that seemed adventurous to a kid.
occasionally, he would tell a funny story,
like the time some village boys were rubbing their tummies
and licking their lips in anticipation of a delicious
meal they were going to share with the soldiers.
 the soldiers noticed the entire bowl of food was moving.
when they drew near,
they saw an entire bowl of caterpillars,
standing up on end,
moving in hairy rhythm.
i’m also thinking about  a story i read about  a woman
 who had grown up with a withdrawn mother.
as she grew up, she faulted her mother for her own struggles in life.
until,
she found out her mother lost her entire family in the Holocaust.
her pain was so great,
she couldn’t speak of her loss,
even to her own children.
healing came when the daughter  understood and accepted
  her mother withdrew  to
spare her the pain,
not cause her pain.
the mother’s love had been there all the time,
she was trying to live as normally as she could.
today, i’m returning to real life
as a mommy and a gramma.
i have to figure out how to keep living
when part of me died.
i have to figure out when to talk,
and when not to.
i have to learn to endure the pain,
without causing pain.
and i have to learn to refuse those caterpillars,
those waving, hairy beasts in my tummy,
that steal my appetite and my peace.
like my teacher/soldier,
i know they’re not nourishment.

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12 Responses to returning from war

  1. jess January 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Love you, and am praying for you and yours.

  2. Andy and Jennifer January 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Oh, Mindy… Just knowing that you could withdraw like that is so much! Praying for you all…

  3. The Queen of Brussels Sprouts January 24, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Praying…as that is all I know to do…but wishing I could do more. If you ever want to get away, your Alaskan Bed and Breakfast (and lunch and dinner) is open 365 days a year 😉

  4. ~ Tandis ~ January 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    I cannot imagine your sorrow. I am glad you are home with Scott. Together you can sit quietly and try to understand. Love you. Praying for you all.

  5. Sweet Tea January 25, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    Mindy, you are so eloquent in explaining your thoughts and emotions. Perhaps someday you will put this journey into a book that will help others who walk this same path. I can see you as an author who will uplift and encourage others. You will find a new way to live and you will share the "how" with others.. It is not what you want or have chosen, but it is where you are. God will use you and the pain will ease. I pray for you several times each day.

  6. Cherrie Herrin-Michehl January 25, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Mindy, I agree with Sweet Tea. You are floating on the wings of prayers, and you will get through this ODAAT. One Day At A Time. You are in my heart and in my prayers. And I don't say that lightly.

  7. Discovering Montessori January 25, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    I was thinking the same thing as Sweet Tea. You have already inspired me! Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Ruby January 25, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    Mindy, dear girl, we haven't had internet for nearly a week so I have only now read about the trial and the outcome. God is in control. The judge of all the earth will do right. He works things together for good to those who love him. Look to the Lord! xo

  9. Andi January 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Praying for you.That's all I can say.

  10. Jessica January 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    We are all so sad, but remembering God has a plan.

  11. MommaMindy January 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Thank you SO much for your words. I couldn't have walked through this journey without my dear, precious, encouraging bloggy sisters and friends. The most amazing thing is, I have never met many of you. Won't heaven be a wonderful reunion when we can all be together at last, having escaped the pollution of the world, and worship at the feet of Jesus.

  12. Joyfull January 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I have not been around much and did not know the trial and verdict were so close. My heart breaks for your pain, but through the pain can clearly see the hand of the Lord guiding you. Enduring pain without causing pain- what powerful words which show your love to others in the midst of your suffering. My prayers are with all, may the overcoming strength of the Lord guide you each day, each moment. Much love and prayer.

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