a noun
a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.  Synonyms: brave person, brave man/woman, man/woman of courage…
another term for “submarine sandwich” @dictionary.com

I know enough of them to call myself #blessed. I have a friend who does not see herself the way my family sees her. I think we both know we are cool moms (I am nerdier, but still). We are similar in our self-deprecating ways, and we know if our kids needed anything, we could count on the other to show up and help out. Also, if we need to make an emergency Jimmy Johns trip… (maybe my American explanation to call the hero a sub sandwich?)…I will think on that later…

This friend knows if something is wrong – even if I am quiet, she normally has to fight to get a word in *if we are honest… However, I give her mad props for deciphering my brand of communication style. I refer to the unpredictable nature of my personality from week to week (depending on a success or failure of a current effort) in #adulting. Or if I am losing my faith in humanity, or under a stress or pain that is blinding me, feeling it will not end. She may say… Breathe,,, where are you standing? This is the way you were going, right? Where is your notebook/calendar? Ok, get back up and start walking …then falls in step next to me until my brain gets back on track. In PTSD therapy, it is a form of ‘grounding’ an exercise of a million possible ones you can use.  I get going like she pulled a zip-string, and I run so far ahead that I forget where I started. I may not get a ton of distance in one stop and start… but I’ll be damned if I didn’t just make it a few steps forward because I did not stand still. I am grateful for people like this.

We are low on funds, so we take scenic drives through Maryland. It’s “friendly mobile therapy” because I need to ‘verbalize-to-problem-solve’, and she needs to drive-think-problem-solve (she gets to talk too)… No particular destination… just to stop to take photos of a sunset, flowers, houses on landscapes, pretty animals, interesting or funny stuff… Sometimes, the ability to stop and appreciate beauty with others makes it cooler. I did this with Air Force buddies back in the 90s (in my 20’s), while stationed at Dover AFB in Delaware. Back then we had our mountain bikes on our car/truck racks, packed lunches, hiked or camped out.

Something spiritual happens when outdoors, stopping at a river bank, walking trails, skipping rocks. Sitting still listening to what surrounds us… The action of “Just Being”.  It reminds me how important the moment (NOW) is.  It helps me understand what I work so hard for…    More of this.. My soul settles a little more each day… Later that day I may thread more words through the tangled web that is my ‘story’. (she called my life a big ball of threads once, We are going to untangle this shit – one thread at a time, I promise it is will keep getting better, I just KNOW it). I probably made some snarky ‘whatevs’ comment, but I believe her. This friend is a hero because the threads she helps me untangle are made of these materials: hyper-anxiety-emotion-riddled-frazzled-but-strangely-focused-intense-but-funny-haha-mostly-but-adventurous-fun-but-tragic-garbage, and a lot of it can be tossed out. That is the part that seems the hardest for me, time spent taking out the trash. Making room for the good that will come our way when the trash is out.

Everyday I come across heroes at the Baltimore Veterans Administration, and they work in various capacities. I have rock-star-hero social workers on my team, and the words I have been trying to communicate and ‘be understood’ are landing on ears that hear, with tools to help me. To help me see a way to a place where I am able to do the important things for my family. I just need the possible and sustainable in this life. I must not lose hope or faith in my abilities to accomplish the goals set (its knowing what goals to set first).

I have been inspired by one of my new VA buddies. My case landed on his desk by a stroke of luck. Not sure if HE feels lucky, but I feel #blessed – he also seemed to comprehend my special brand of communication style. Somehow, in the tangled state of me, I had things his team could work with. This rockstar keeps handing me tangible information I can use (not just a brochure). It is a painstakingly-slow-slow-slow process when dealing with the mountains of paperwork required to do anything in the field of human services or government agencies in general.

Veterans are fully capable of being hard on themselves over their stuff #adulting. In fact, for me, it is a very humbling, and pride-sucking process when you have to go and ask other veterans to help you when you have reached the end of your rope and are hanging on by the knot you tied poorly, although still works… (Navy vet shows the Air Force vet a proper knot configuration). Most veterans I meet are surviving, hard-working, self-motivated people that want a way to live and enjoy a little slice of the American Pie they fought for. Preferably before they die.

I call human services workers heroes when they do their sometimes thankless jobs with enthusiasm, personality, and a great sense of humor. 9 times out of 10, a veteran does not want a hand-out, but a hand-up, and reminded they are not alone. Give them a compass, point them in the right direction because they fell off the marked trail again. (oh, and some food, and financial help during emergencies). Anyway, I have met some AMAZING people in Maryland so far, and I hope get more opportunities to pay the human kindness forward.

One thought on “heroes

  1. Nice free form, fun to follow every next word might be a surprise and there are some nice little treasures sprinkled across this blogscape, wunderbar!


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