Monthly Archives: May 2010

From Chains to Spiritual Liberation – A Hero’s Story

I have just had one of those life-changing moments, which called on me to reflect and tell the story. It’s only been a few days that my brother in-law passed away to a better place.

Joe was a quiet man just 60 years old. He was a highly decorated veteran from his war days.  He was even decorated before the President of the United Sates, yet very few people ever knew. Joe was that kind of man.

All of his days he kept the war in Vietnam in his soul and it weighed heavily in his heart.

All of his days he was ashamed for the human tragedy that occurred in the work that he did in defending his country with honor.

Joe was a farmer, he knew how to grow, cultivate and nurture; he found it strange and it did not sit easily with him to destroy things.

All of his days his heart was heavy with the chains of guilt of that distant time.

By day, Joe was a successful patent design engineer in the auto industry and by night he was  “Joe the farmer”. You see Joe came from a farming family and work was just what he did.

For Joe his life could never be deemed a success. In Joe his heart was always heavy.

I was there when he passed away at the VA hospital from the effects of  “agent orange”.

I was there when the palliative care chaplain helped Joe come to peace with himself and help Joe understand that it was ok to know that he had had a good life, as family man, an award winning patent engineer, and highly decorated soldier. It was ok for Joe to feel good about himself!

That it was ok for Joe to take off those chains of guilt and sorrow that he had carried around his heart all of his life, and that God would forgive him. Joe you are not a bad man!

People simply could not understand that it was difficult for him to go see young kids who had been hurt and were in hospital or talk about much that was personal.

People simply could not ever fathom that Joe’s soul was tormented all of his days with the flashbacks of a war some 40 years ago.

People simply could not understand that the medals Joe received reminded him not of glory days but days of sadness and the horrific effects of a war that no one seemed to want and war heroes that many turned their backs on.

Joe should have been proud of serving his country in a far of foreign land. No one was there to liberate Joe though, and I saw many others in the same situation when I visited the VA hospital. Strange that we expect and ask much from those that serves others. Where are we for those who serve us?

Joe should not have had to wait until his dying moments to be liberated and to come to his God not knowing that it was ok to ask forgiveness for yourself.

So as I sat quietly, and heard Joe tell the stories he had kept in his heart for so long. I had the privilege to see a man come to peace with himself and to see a man transformed by the gift of the palliative care chaplain prepare Joe for his final journey.

The weight that was lifted from that man showed in the relief in his face. Joe looked strangely younger then the sick man he was.

Coming to terms with your life does that to you. Why did Joe have to wait until then?

I write this homage to Joe and the work of the VA hospitals across the USA and the sacred work of the chaplain who took Joe’s hand and said its ok, you have permission to forgive yourself in the eyes of the Lord.

I wonder though…..

I wonder what more can we do to help all of the “USA Joe’s” who fought for their country and who suffer from pains and terrible images and memories of a long gone war.

I wonder what we have to do to lift those heavy chains from the souls of those gentle folks who simply did what they were asked by their country and help liberate their spirit.

After all liberation is why they were fighting for their country.

Thanks Joe, I am so sorry that we could not have helped you with your pain during your lifetime.

I salute you and all the of men and women who protect and defend the American homeland.

I don’t wonder any more I know there is more to do. Thank you for being the hero you are.


The customer you don’t yet have might have been the best one you ever had!

Reminders that you never know who could be you be talking to.

Have any of these stories ever happened to you? A recent event made me think again about how people treat people!

  • Went to the hospital to visit a family member. Asked the nurse can you call the Doctor for me? The reply was “this is not my patient area” Is that patient care?
  • A Friend went for a job interview and was told “not hiring and if not buying” they needed to leave. Would you buy there?
  • A Friend went to drop of an application wearing capris and flip flops and was told that if you come dressed looking like that, you will not work here. Would you ever feel welcomed?
  • I will not hire you as I only recruit from friends and people I know. Why would you ever feel the inclination to buy there?
  • I see you are here with your friends and have been here for a while talking are you buying anything, if not, you need to leave. What kind of experience does this business give?
  • When sitting waiting to be served for food.  The server you speak to says you are not at ”their” table and walks away. Then you have to wait. Would you ever go back?
  • You go into a store and the assistants look at you and continue talking and after few moments come over and ask. “What do you want?” Is this great customer service?
  • That when a friend applied for a job they never heard anything back at all. What kind of service would you feel that business would give you as a customer?
  • You apply for a job and they say they will get back to you and never do. Where is the trust?
  • That when a friend was treated badly as an employee yet the business owner is all “nice” with the customer. Do they walk the talk?

When a business owner or manager or employee does not understand that relationships are built on reputations and they treat people like this, can they expect to be successful?

Seems that there are too many people in business whether owners, managers or support staff that simply do not “get it” They will never be the people that will truly be engaged in making a business thrive. We need and deserve much better and so does our economy!

We all need to remember that we rely on others and we never know that the person we just “blew of” might have the greatest influence on your business and life!



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