When most people think of adoption, they think of the joy of a child in need being welcomed with open arms by those who longed for a child. Like a fairy tale! And when we think of trauma, we think of losing limbs, or eyesight. We think of war ...
My role as a psychotherapist is not to advocate particular responses or causes. My point is that in order to recover from the large and small wars we all experience, we would all do well to follow Eric's example of using trauma as an opening for change.
It's not a new phenomenon for a politician to use someone's suffering for political gain, but Sarah Palin, in addressing her son's arrest last week for domestic violence, has managed both to propagate a series of misunderstandings about PTSD and to dishonor veterans.
Janci, an Iraq war veteran, swallowed a fistful of pills and a bottle of wine. She called a friend and asked him to take care of her young daughter, who was in school. She locked all the doors and windows and waited for the mercy of death to free her from the ghosts that haunted her.
If we are serious as a nation in our platitudes and compassion for veterans, then we must adhere to our nationally self-professed and loudly proclaimed values of justice, honor and courage and speak honestly with our veterans.
To manage our relationship to mortality and the overwhelming power of grief, we sanitize or sequester death and corpses with elaborate rituals and fierce taboos. But war explodes these boundaries and endangers the humanity of those we send to fight.
Let us give thanks for the many lives lost on the battlefield. But let us also acknowledge those who returned home, alive and well, but feeling empty, numb, even dead, on the inside. And let us call attention to these invisible wounds that effect so many, raising awareness of the need for our congregations to take action to help their recovery.
No longer can I look past the reality that my annual voluntary forfeiture of money to my government pays for violence around the globe, at astounding levels, and I am not able to provide any more excuses or rationalizations that paying without protest, that being complicit in funding war without resistance, is not contradictory to my faith and to my conscience.