Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Looking to be of service

Please visit Ilona Meagher's blog "PTSD Combat; Winning the War Within"

I have thought about this pursuit for several months and I don't think I've shared it with anyone online yet. So, I decided to 'put it out there' and tell you about it.

First, what was the catalyst? Well, during our holidays and visit to my friends in Idaho, I read about this:

Cambridge monks offer retreat for war weary soldiers
By Jay Lindsay, Associated Press Writer | July 18, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --National Guard Capt. Jeffrey Cox watched soldiers lose sight of God in the violence and daily grind of the war in Iraq.

Prodded by Cox, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist is offering a "healing retreat" weekend in October to help soldiers returning from war adapt to life back home and reconnect with their faith.

The retreat aims to give soldiers space to reflect, worship and share their experiences.

"I'm not saying a weekend is going to solve any problems, but what it can do is it can give people a respite," he said. "Not only are they able to talk about their heart and their mind, but they're able to talk about their soul."

Cox, who is studying to be an Episcopal priest, was a social worker for troops in Iraq and is now a contractor for the Army's Wounded Warrior program, which assists severely injured or disabled soldiers. He said war can wear out faith by undermining general teachings about the goodness of God and the life he's given us.

"(War) seems like, at times, the absolute opposite of what our natural being is," Cox said. Read the rest HERE.

This struck a cord in me and you all know about my anti-war stance. However, with my background, being born and raised in the Netherlands, hearing stories about the hardships of war and the occupation (WW2), I felt that regardless, it would behoove people to support those young kids coming back from Iraq. I know that some feel that since they volunteered to join the army, navy what have you, it's their own responsibility. Well, they have a certain point, BUT.. coming from Europe (just to do a generalizing swab across the continent), I don't feel that any American can have a clue about war. This country has not exactly been occupied, with war on the home front so collectively, there is no 'never again', or 'do you remember what happened when..' (never mind the revolutionary war, we're talking being invaded by other countries, actual occupation and subjugation by 'others').

I remember learning about King Phillip the V for instance and the high inquisition where the catholic Spaniards sought to convert and/or punish those protestant heathens in the Low countries. Stories of torture, betrayals, cities being surrounded in an attempt to starve the people into surrender, (cities has city walls and a surrounding moat). Boiling tar or oils to pour over those spanish soldiers trying to climb those walls..
stories of Napolean Bonaparte.

Members of the Dutch Eindhoven Resistance with troops of the US 101st Airborne in front of the Eindhoven cathedral during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
The second World War. The underlying theme was always rebellion to overthrow the invaders. Fighting for true freedom. Gruesome punishments and torture. And history repeats...

It is always the ordinary person who ends up paying the price. In this strongly propagandized country, mostly people from lower economic status join the military. There are many (a) reasons to support these kids, because they are kids. And I feel too, that in essence it's a matter of putting your money where your mouth is. If you say, we want the troops out of Iraq, our service men and women should not have to be there (for xyz reasons), then support those who are home and really could use some authentic help.

That is what I have been thinking about. I would like to set something up like that healing retreat, except, I don't think one weekend would do it. I am thinking of a much more extensive program that would be a furthering (or improvement, I don't know yet at this time)of what the VA is offering. So today, I ordered Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops by Ilona Meagher

Once we return back into our house after the renovations this weekend, and our house is back to normal (hopefully sooner than later), I will continue to do research and even contact the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

There is a point, when blogging about issues and voicing your opinion in the company of mostly like-minded people such as quite a few of you, just won't do. I need to do something. That's all.

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Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

My stamce re "god" is well defined on my blog, so I won't waste your space. However:
"National Guard Capt. Jeffrey Cox watched soldiers lose sight of God in the violence and daily grind of the war in Iraq."
Perhaps because they are lied to and told "God is on your side?" I can't prove he's not, but I will say this: if he is, he's doing a bad job.

="He said war can wear out faith by undermining general teachings about the goodness of God and the life he's given us.
No, not war. Those who crave, desire, and create war, do that. The goodness, or lack thereof, of God has nothing to do with it. The people in the previous sentence have everything to do with it!

"(War) seems like, at times, the absolute opposite of what our natural being is," Cox said. Read the rest HERE."

"Seems Like?" This gentleman must have no awareness of the Ten Commandments.

"There is a point, when blogging about issues and voicing your opinion in the company of mostly like-minded people such as quite a few of you, just won't do. I need to do something. That's all."
You are a lady of insight...and courage those responsible for killing our young, lack.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...


I don't particularly care for the religious aspects myself. I have found some other organizations in the US who've set up healing/integration workshops/facilities who're using a particular buddhist, alternative type offering for dealing with pstd. I hope to post on those next week (this week's still chaos in the house) You cannot change people's belief system and especially some of the fundamentalist/literal trends that are going on right now. I definitely(!!) will stay away from any of those type of support offerings I can tell you that. I had my own ideas floating in my head when I read about this the first time. The fact of the matter is, someone/organization other than the government chose to help. And from what I have been reading up on online with all the organizations and topic specific blogs I've been finding is that the change in the military needs to come from within. The only way to do that, is to access that 'within'. Check out the post written by an Iraq Veterans against the war, Jeff Englehart, see his blog:

TUA, this will always be a contentious issue, whether to support these guys or not. I have noticed that some blogs do not allow feedback as I'm sure you can imagine the trolls going to those sites, regardless of their position.
Anyhow, I will keep you all posted. I am going to take two different grant writing classes so I am readying myself to doing something concrete. Wish me luck,


10:59 AM  
Blogger Ilona Meagher said...

This is absolutely wonderful, Ingrid.

Thank you for the mention, and please let me know what you think about the book. But more importantly, your idea of stepping out and expanding what you're doing, be it through a large project like a retreat program or through smaller efforts is what I'm most thankful for.

I am so glad that you're inspired to do more; you're not alone. We are definitely creating a movement here (although it may not seem like it at times, there being so much more work yet to do), and America -- and our military families -- will be the better for it.

I embrace you, Ingrid. Thank you...

1:34 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Dear Ilona, your 'story' of how you became involved was quite inspiring in itself. When someone is injured, it doesn't matter how or by whom or even by their own hands, you help out, period. This war has been so divisive and it's been mostly the parties to blame for that. I am secretly hoping that this 'attempt' of mine will be a bridge builder of sorts. It is unacceptable that people should be so antagonistic with each other solely for having opposing viewpoints. Anyhow, thank you very much for visiting and I am hoping to receive your book today! Your blog has provided a wealth of information already, so I can't wait to read the book! Have a good weekend and I will let you know what exactly is in the works for this idea of mine. Thank you for your support,

1:51 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Very interesting Ingrid. Keep us posted if you do find a way to move forward. I suspect this is very important work and that the need will be great in coming months and years (not to mention today).

I wonder if the St John project is secular or focussed on Christian faith?

It was interesting for me to stand at the Remembrance Day ceremony here in Nelson yesterday, and to hear a Salv. Army minister go on about Jesus and all, when two of my veteran friends, standing silently within his sight, are Jewish and Aboriginal in belief.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

I showed this article as the cataclyst but I do not intend to use religion in this at all. My 'mulling over' is converging on the notions of recreational healing art therapy (art, writing) and other notions of support that would help out the families of those vets. A retreat of sorts would be an outcome of some of the ideas I have, not the starting point. I hear you when you describe that minister. It is so centric and disconnective of who or what is around, it really doesn't help does it?
I'll keep you guys posted, something more firm is shaping up,

11:56 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Ingrid you are amazing!

7:44 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Mary, I haven't done anything yet but I am 'in the process' of pursuit. There are writing courses taught through Amherst writing (don't have the proper link on hand) that would teach you how to lead a writing class for people who need to rid themselves of trauma or buried memories. There actually is a workshop being taught in Austin next year April. I have to find out how much it is, but I think that would be a very well worth class to take. I will keep you posted Mary,

3:06 PM  

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