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Veterans of War

February 1, 2010

Veterans of War

“What Happened?”

            My hearing’s gone weird.  The soldier thought to himself.  I can’t even hear myself correctly.  My vision’s gone wacky too.  I’m goastly white all over while everything else seams normal.  No, not normal at all.  The roof and walls have collapsed.  I must have a concussion.  From what?  I don’t remember.  Calm down and relax.  Think.  Yes that’s it.  I’m a soldier and a bomb must have gone off.

            My vision is clearing a little.  What is that over there?  A native girl caught in the blast.  That must be her bundle of clothes she dropped.  Blood is coming out of her ears.  Maybe I can help her.  First…first thing.  Breathing, yes now I remember.  I still cannot hear anything, but I see that her chest does not rise.  The soldier leaned over to give her two breaths.  Pulse, now check the pulse.  I can’t feel a thing.  My fingers do not work either.  Press her fingernails; check for circulation.  No circulation.  Start CPR.  How many breaths?  How many compressions?  I don’t remember.  Just do some or she’s dead already.

            How long have I been doing this?  Wait, her chest is rising on its own.  Aah!  My vision is going again.  Wow, it’s getting bright in here.  Hey, there’s people.

            “Help her, she’s hurt bad!”  The soldier pleaded with the people who just came in.

            “It is enough, faithful servant.”  He was white all over like the soldier.  “Come into your rest.”

            The gentleman who spoke turned to face a lady who looked as if she could be the native girl’s twin.  “Come, you have work to do.”  He gently invited the lady, while gesturing toward her bundle of clothes.

            The gentleman and lady had spoken another language yet the soldier understood it all.  He watched the bundle move slightly.  A little hand peaked out.

            “No, why did you bring me back?  We were both to die!  We are outcasts in our village now.  He will never be accepted.  A half-breed they call him.  Because of him!”  She pointed to the body of another soldier.  “And his lust.”

            “You have work to do.  He wants all of His children to learn and grow and eventually return to Him.  There is no good without bad.  There is no joy without trials.  Know that He loves all of his children.  He loves you.  Know that He is with you.  This spirit has been placed in your care and you have another chance to teach him.  Teach him to love.”  The gentleman added softly.

            My friend, thought the soldier, my friend is dead!  I will miss you.  We have been through a lot.  Seen many things that no one should ever see.  “Lady, please find room in your heart to forgive my friend.  I do not excuse what he has done.  Please understand that his childhood was a painful one.  His father beat him and his mother.  He taught his son to hate.”

            Without a response the lady returned to her body.  The gentleman turned to return from whence he came.  The soldier could see two other men with their heads buried in their hands.  One was his friend.  The other was older but looked quite similar.

            “Choices have consequences.”  Lamented the white robed gentleman.

            “What happens now?”  Asked the soldier’s friend.

            “I do His will.  It is not for me to judge.  Yet.”  He pointed at the lady’s baby.  “There is much work to be done.”  He turned to look back at the soldier.  “Come along, you may not stay.”

            “But, I am not dead.”  The soldier protested.

            The gentleman laughed kindly and pointed to where the soldier’s body laid.

            “Then how was I able to bring her back?”

            “Faith and love for your neighbor.  But mostly faith.”  Came the wise response.

            The soldier turned back to the native girl.  “I forgive you.”

                        Paul D. Anderson.

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