Recently a high-ranking service member and I were talking about trauma. He said that even he, after a deployment, found himself looking for IED’s while driving on the roads here at home. While he noticed that after a while it diminished, he was amazed by how traumatic events register at some level even for those who think they are well insulated from such things. We agreed that none of us is immune. Clearly this service member was able to see the absurdity of looking for bombs on the side of the road back in the States. I suspect this helped diminish the impact over time.
September 3, 2013
Of all the truths that have given way in the course of my life, two seem to have survived. The first comes from the Christian teaching that the world is essentially broken, including each of us. I find it interesting that the first thing God said to Adam in the story of beginnings (Genesis) was to name the animals. Naming things identifies them and differentiates them from everything else. It is important, for example, to be able to differentiate a lion from a cat. It could save your life. It is okay to pet the cat.... but not so for the lion! Traumatic experiences often continue an unnamed existence and exert a powerful influence on us. Acknowledging that things are broken gives us permission to name the experiences that are so overwhelming that they resist definition. Naming it helps differentiate it from the other things in our experience.