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Archive for December, 2011

There are plenty of interesting folks that come through my line at work. As a cashier, I get glimpses into people’s lives seconds or minutes at a time. Honestly, I am not totally happy doing what I do, but I choose to make the most of it. I choose to provide the best service possible, while getting an up-close opportunity to people watch. Over the last few weeks, I have been blown away by seeing the process of generosity as people bought things for friends, families, employees and strangers. I have been frustrated on a deep level at poverty cycle, as people roll up with carts full of stuff, and have no concept that their limited amount of money cannot cover all those items. Trying to explain simple math in seconds is a frustrating thing when the customer does not understand (and I am NOT frustrated with them, I am frustrated that it is possible to be illiterate when it comes to basic math in this country…if that makes sense) And then there are situations like what I encountered this evening at work.

A tall, muscular man, that was possibly not much older than me came through my line. I had a hunch, by the “high and tight” hair, that he was most likely military, and his jacket confirmed it (Marine). He was visibly upset, I could see the mixture of fear/anger/anxiety all over his face. He looked at me while he said this, directed toward the man behind him. “Be glad I took my happy pills today, they hand them out to me like crazy since I came back from Iraq. The last guy who did that, ended up on the floor.” I laughed uncomfortably, as I sensed this was an awkward situation between the Marine and the man behind him. And then it dawned on me, what was wrong with the Marine….PTSD. My heart instantly went out to him. By the time I had realized what was going on, the Marine had left.

The older man came up, “Did you hear that guy muttering about happy pills?! All I did was accidently bump into him, and put my hand on his arm and say  ‘sorry.’” The tone in his voice was less than sympathetic. He had a look on his face that implied he thought the Marine was crazy. I calmly and politely informed the man what had happened. “That man most likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. A lot of people serving in the wars are coming back and struggling with it. My father has struggled with it since he came back from Iraq, and it’s a very real problem. The littlest thing sets it off,  even my son who was hovering over him triggered the feelings. Its so sad that they have to suffer from that.” Needless to say , that man did not say another word about it.

I found myself battling tears for the next few minutes. Realizing what ignorance there still is in this world, even around those who have been around long enough to know better. I also realize the huge sacrifice that our military makes. Its one thing to be willing to lay down your life for your country, but you have to lay down your physical, mental and emotional health as well. That Marine, is going through his own personal hell, with very few people who understand him. If he is married, then his marriage is likely in jeopardy because of it. He went to Iraq, one person, and now he and his family have to come to terms that he is not the same person.

I find myself wishing I had said something….anything encouraging to the Marine. I pray the next time I encounter someone such as he, that I would at least say , “I will be praying for you” or something! And I pray the next time you encounter someone, who comes off as “odd” or crazy, that you won’t just assume that those impressions are true. There are plenty of folks out there struggling with mental illness, injury or similar situations that affect them.

And to those in the military, especially those with PTSD, thank you. I may never fully understand what you all sacrifice, but there are those of us who at least see enough to know that you are struggling and we are praying for you.

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Over the last couple of weeks, I have been feeling much better emotionally. I started working at Walmart, though my hours go to nothing the first week of January. That being said, I have been trying to find a fulltime job, and applied for one that sounds perfect for my situation. I have been praying so hard to get this position, and have asked all my friends to pray too. Today, I got word that the lady has not made a decision yet. She did say that I was still in the running, but she would not decide until next week. I found myself wanting to cry because I want this sooooo bad. So I sat and prayed on the way home :  “God, You know I need this job. You know my situation. But I don’t know the other applicants’ situations either. I trust You to do what it right for all of us, including me.” I still feel all wound up over all of it, but there is a peace about it too. I have to trust that He will provide no matter what the answer is, and that there is the possibility that there is another person that may need that job. I have to admit, I look at my current work schedule and I want to cry because zero work hours does not pay the bills. I am in a constant state of giving that to God, and trying to focus on the now. That means doing my job as best I can, no matter how long I am there. I think my overall attitude during this period of waiting has changed by focusing on the other applicants. It seems weird, but there is something that feels good about praying over their situations too 🙂

Until next time….Merry Christmas 🙂

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