Those ubiquitous "Support Our Troops" bumper-stickers have been a fixture on a generation of U.S. cars. Especially, in the last ten years; Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and those are just the recent highlights. If I tried to name them all, I'm sure I would leave some out.
"Supporting Our Troops" means different things at different times. Thankfully, many of our troops will be returning home as our involvement in these conflicts winds down. Unfortunately, studies are showing again that many will not make it all the way back. Oh, they be back physically, which is something to be thankful for of course, but what they have experienced in these wars often keeps them from fully returning and rejoining their families, communities, and loved ones. War changes the vet. And, because of that, the homes, values, and relationships the vet returns to are often not the ones they left. The war experiences of the returning vet can leave them standing outside a community which has no frame of reference to those experiences, and may even be frightened and intimidated by them. A tacit wall of silence builds with all the isolation this implies. So, what does it mean to Support Our Troops under these circumstances?
Dr. Laura Caplan, in her book "When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home Again" has worked with returning vets and has discovered the value of what may be called, "community healers". Ordinary people who are willing to listen. Dr. Caplan has tapped in to the extraordinary potential of ordinary people who are just willing to listen to returning vets and break that wall of silence. Helping them with the last leg of their journey home.
A "community healers" training workshop will be held at Epiphany Lutheran Church of Mount Vernon, 5521 Old Mill Road, Alexandria, VA 22309 on Sunday, September 18, 2011 from 7-9PM. We are looking for a small group of seven to ten people to start this work. We will have the Rev. Fred Shilling with us to lead this workshop. Fred is a chaplain and workshop leader with over 30 years experience and is currently working with Dr. Caplan on this initiative. A donation of $7 for the workbook and materials is suggested.
Community healers have a unique opportunity to help heal the soul wounds of war. Indeed, let's Support Our Troops, and let's bring them all the way home.
For more information, visit www.epiphanylutheran.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org