I apologize at the outset for writing about a darker, heavier topic.  I will try to keep my postings lighter and more encouraging, but from time to time, it will be necessary for me to address more serious issues as God lays them on my heart.  That said, I thought it might be useful for me to write about PTSD for this posting since I have mentioned it in previous postings, including my own struggles with it, and since so many people suffer from this malady. PTSD has been with us since the dawn of recorded history.  We now know more about what it is and understand that many people have suffered with it throughout the ages since we can now identify the symptoms that all these cases have in common.  In military history, it has gone by many names, shell-shock, soldier’s heart, the thousand-yard-stare, combat fatigue, combat exhaustion, railway spine, etc.  But the experience and the symptoms are pretty much the same with: the inducing trauma, a moral violation of all that is right and good, perhaps by a single event or perhaps successive events or long periods of ever-building stress under dangerous, demeaning, or hopeless conditions; the subsequent shattering of the world-view which we all carefully construct for ourselves in order to believe that we have worth, that we are loved, that life makes sense, and that it has meaning; the shattered world-view leading to a profound pessimism about everything, including your own worth or the value of being alive; the subsequent re-experiencing of the original trauma or period of trauma in dreams, flash-backs, or intrusive thoughts;  the alternate emotional numbing and deep depression; the hyper-arousal or hyper-vigilance brought on by the adrenaline and cortisol surges, which in turn are triggered by the re-experiencing, so that you cannot relax, sleep soundly, or feel safe for days on end.

Of course, there are varying levels at which people experience these symptoms since we are all infinitely variable and unique.  And our particular traumas are infinitely variable and unique.  But with PTSD, the common factor is that there is a trauma, a tragic breech of normal human endurance and understanding in which the values of good and right and our own feeling of self-worth are shattered by an egregious moral violation.  This moral violation is the seed for all the problems and symptoms which follow.  Common thoughts for sufferers after the original violation or point of realization of the violation might be, “This never should have happened,” or “They never should have done that,” or questioning in shock or disbelief, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “How could they do that to me?”  The sense of moral violation could be childhood abuse as the victim intrinsically understands, even in their simple childish world something that is branded upon their spirit, that we all have responsibilities to our creator in how we treat each other.  Even then the child understands when someone steps over a boundary and abuses them as if they have no other worth than to be a convenient punching bag, a repository of all the blame and rage of their ugly lives.  Or it could be a much darker urge to use the poor child to satisfy an evil sexual desire.  In any case, these are very grave evils and God will make these wicked, selfish people pay for their violation of innocence.   God hates the abuse of innocence and weakness, and although the people that do these things were probably once victims themselves, they do not have excuse for what they do.  Many people go through abuse in their childhood and decide to make a courageous stand, to not be the type of monster that abused them.  God is most certainly pleased with these curse breakers who stand up against the evil and refuse to let it control them and turn them into another wicked person in the chain. 

I apologize for writing about something so heavy, but it is something very close to my own heart.  And it is necessary sometimes to name the evils in our world so that we can stand up against them or try to seek healing from them.  I know that many people suffer from PTSD because of childhood abuse.  Even in their innocence, they know something that is intrinsically stamped on our hearts, whether we can articulate it or not and whether we admit it or not.  We are all of us our brother’s keeper to answer the Satanically-inspired question of Cain.  We do have responsibility to those people that are immediately around us in our families, and even to all those that we may meet out in the chance encounters of our daily lives.  At the very least, we are expected to be kind to those that are in our immediate family, although our compassion should not stop there.  But certainly the most egregious violations are those that not only step over the bounds of innocence for selfish purpose, but also break a sacred responsibility to protect these that God has put under their care, turning their responsibility into an opportunity for evil instead. Such people sear their consciences shut, overriding normal human empathy.  God has built this empathy into us about the conditions of our fellow human beings so that we do not abuse them, that we do not overlook their suffering, and that we do not become too self-absorbed.  But God most certainly expects us to live up to our responsibilities to our brother or sister since we are aware of the responsibility through our in-built empathy.  This innate empathy translates their suffering into our own suffering in our conception and realization of the world around us so that we can experientially understand how our selfish actions actually feel on the receiving end.  And since He has built in us the power to understand the sufferings of those around us, and since He has put the responsibility for them on our shoulders whether we like it or not, then He is keeping watch and taking score when we do not live up to His expectations. For those of us who are saved and walking closely with Him, He gently nudges us back into the right direction when we wrong others.  But we all will have to answer to our failures of not caring about or not helping our fellow humans, intentional or otherwise, although those of us who are under the precious Blood of the Lamb, Jesus, will be thankfully covered for our sins. 

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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