Do I Need a Tattoo too?
The air in the room is blue, colored by the obscenity-laden talk from the group. Arms and necks are decorated with tattoo art. In fact, I am likely the only person in the group without a tattoo (although I’ve thought it would be funny to get a zipper pull tattooed at the top of the scar on my back).
The veterans are using The Combat Trauma Healing Manual and the wives are using When War Comes Home. They are not like other small group Bible studies I’ve participated in, but it seems oddly normal now. The veterans and veterans’ wives are sharing their hearts and lives, feeling safe in groups that understand and accept them.
They are talking about forgiveness – forgiving those who’ve hurt them or their friends; forgiving the military, the government, the church, God; forgiving themselves.
They are realizing that life isn’t going to be like it was before deployment, so they are choosing (continually) to let go of the past and trust God for the future. They are calling each other to help and be helped when something triggers memories, emotions, grief.
So the question is, “Am I going to be offended by the language and the tattoos and the stories, thus shutting the door to relationship? Or am I going to look through what I may find uncomfortable to see their hearts and to love and to listen?”
Do I need to get a tattoo or to brush up on the use of four-letter words? No. I just need to be there, listen and care. One of the wives called to talk about her frustration and anger with her husband and his PTSD. I didn’t have a good response (I was frustrated with him also), so I asked her what she expected of me when she called. After thinking about it for a minute, she said she called me because she knew I would remind her of God and His love for her.
You can give the same reminders as well!