Most of us will not be fighting in a war, in a military combat sense. Yet, most of us will battle chronic illness at some point in our lifetime. Combat and chronic illness are two completely different beasts. So what can those of us with chronic illness learn from those who are willing to share their combat war stories?
- We can learn what courage truly looks like in the face of unspeakable odds
- We can learn patience when we cannot see the whole picture at the moment
- We can learn that not everything is as it appears (especially in the public eye)
- We can learn what it is like to be shot at by others who may not want to be there either
- We can learn forgiveness for people that are caught up in situations that act mercilessly to others
- We can learn that we have the ability to show more grace towards others no matter how badly we are suffering ourselves
- We can learn what it takes to rise above our own pain and suffering to get the job done
- We can learn about things so foreign to us that we not only find tolerance for others but kindness
- We can learn when we need to stand up and say no in the face of combat “norm”
- We can learn how to find ourselves through the most wrenching circumstances that actually are the catalyst to discovering ourselves
- We can learn how to grow up, the hard way
- We can learn what it looks like to be stripped of selfishness so we can see the greater good
- We can learn how to fight for our personal survival and at the same time be fighting for a bigger picture
- We can learn that all discomfort is not bad, instead, it can propel us into action
- We can learn how to build character through our discomfort, pain, and misery
- We can learn the value of true friendship, of brothers and sisters in the same war that have our back at all times
- We can learn to endure the loss of loved ones because of unjust wars
- We can learn how to take down the walls that divide and build walls that truly protect
- We can learn how much a human body can endure under physical and emotional stress
- We can learn that others watch how we handle beyond difficult circumstances
- We can learn how much armor to carry at any given moment in time
- We can learn the cost of battles that do not need to be fought to win the war
- We can learn that no two people in combat will handle the exact situation the same
- We can learn perspective about war and the effects on humanity – looking backward, measuring the true cost of war on humanity
- We can learn about nourishment through whatever means we can find available at any given moment
- We can learn the true nature of gratitude, no matter what, a person can be grateful
- We can learn to value every small victory
- We can learn personal moral limitations – there is a time to stand on moral grounds regardless of what we are “ordered” to do
- We can learn the ability to see hope in middle of desperation
- We can learn to find joy in the smallest luxury
- We can learn the value of teamwork
- We can learn how small (yet powerful) we are in the midst of vast devastation
- We can learn to focus in the midst of chaos
- We can learn to rise above horror and travesty
- We can learn to live with and hopefully move through PTSD
- We can learn that sometimes we only have ourselves to rely on, no one to help, rescue or even enable
- We can learn there are times to set emotions aside, there is no choice if we want to survive
- We can also learn there will come a time to process and get emotions through and out of us so they don’t destroy us
- We can learn to accept labels put on us, right and wrong labels (those who are drafted do not necessarily agree with the wars they are fighting)
- We can learn how to determine a righteous fight
- We can learn how to confront hostile attackers
- We can learn to quickly evade or forcibly overcome anyone or anything
- We can learn when to lighten our loads so we can maneuver
- We can learn significant adaptation
- We can learn to laugh at any available moment
- We can learn to find joy and peace through the circumstances and not feel “under” the circumstances
- We can learn to value what is worthy because it can be gone in an instant
- We can learn how to move on after the war has ended and have productive full lives
This list was kept in the exact order it came to mind. It is all over the place, kind of like war or the battle of chronic illness.
Notice my list consistently says we “can” learn. We all have to chose what we learn from life and from others. At different times in our lives, we will be able to truly hear the stories better than others.
It is up to those who have fought in combat to share their stories, or not. All I can do is highly encourage those of you who have had this experience to speak up and share. Young people need to not just know the context of history, but the value of a person’s character as humans face the difficulties of life.
There are some incredible shining moments in the midst of a war that may seem like just a flashing moment to a veteran. Yet sharing those stories will bring illuminating light to others to help them through their personal battles. Those valuable war stories help to bring perspective to hurting people.
I sit here truly amazed at human resonance, mainly in the face of adversity. Regardless of what is going on around us or in us, we have the power within ourselves to find grounding, stability beyond what we would imagine in times of such troubles.
How To Share Your War Story?
Good question. Obviously family and friends. Anyone who will listen is my best suggestion. I am hoping that you give me ideas that I can share with others on how to share your war stories. Comment below or contact me, I would love to hear from you.
NOTE: There is nothing about anything I am saying that is a political statement about anything. My oldest daughter is a Veteran awarded with a Purple Heart. I am proud and admire her service along with the incredible millions of other courageous soldiers but I am not making any political statements about any war. We are all human beings far above and beyond any politics.
Please share your stories. They are valuable probably more than you realize.
How do you share your war story? In what ways have you benefited from “war stories?”
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC (Certified Mind-Body Eating Coach)
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.