Jim is a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, one tour in each country. Since getting out of the military, he has had issues with drugs, alcohol and legal problems from both tours. He was raised in a very modest home with a wonderful mother. I have met his daughters; they are the loveliest young ladies. They love their dad and volunteer with him whenever they can.
His income is based on what he receives from the Veterans Administration benefits due to his wounds from the war. Looking at him, you might fear the exterior you see. He is an intimidatingly large man and dresses very humbly. I have been asking him to join our veterans' weekly Transition Plus meeting. He has been reluctant to join any group. Like so many veterans, he doesn't feel that anyone can understand what it's like to be exposed to what he has witnessed and endured.
Jim is an example of what I call “cutting himself from the herd.”
He is one of the kindest, sweetest warriors I've ever met, and he lives on "Volunteer Rd." That is, he volunteers to help the down and out any way he can. During our last hurricane, he volunteered to help flood victims clean their homes and cut out damaged sheetrock. He helped carry away fallen tree limbs and hauled debris from households out to the curb for city pickup. The recent tornado in our area found him joining with others to help wherever they could.
His heart is as big as Dallas, though he has few personal possessions and a meager monthly check he always shares it with others who are less fortunate. (I know he buys his homeless friend a cheeseburger whenever he sees him.)
Jim is divorced, maintains a good relationship with his ex-wife and he's very loyal to his mom and his daughters. He could claim to be a victim, and say life is unfair. He could blame his limp on the military and war. What does he do? He faces life like he is one of the wealthiest men around, one who has unlimited resources. By the way, if a veteran needs a ride to the hospital, he is there, providing he has enough gas. Jim is an example for all of us to model our lives.
I give thanks to God that I get to know Jim. He is a veteran who has served his country and continues to serve where he can. I call him a true friend. He is who I can choose to be, he preaches as he lives.
I would rather see a sermon than hear one. Thanks for your sermon, Jim.
How hard would it be to be more like Jim?
Watch for the blind spots.
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Blind Spots in Relationships
What I don't know I don't know about Myself
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