War-A Story of Healing

April 19-28, 1998

Once upon a time, there was a war going on. It was a fierce, hand to hand battle with blood, smoke, weapons, and pain--all in abundance.

In the midst of the struggle, one participant left the battle. Wounded and bleeding badly, he crawled to a small copse of trees just east of the main fighting. He was surprised to find another soldier there already--an enemy soldier, at that. Exhausted and expecting to die anyway, he continued into the shelter afforded by the bushes and the noise and sight of the battle faded away as he concentrated on positioning himself opposite the other occupant.

In the copse, the two soldiers eyed each other suspiciously but since both had retreated here to die, they felt no need to continue the hostilities which abounded outside their sanctuary. Indeed, when one began to cough unceasingly, the other edged over and silently offered his canteen of water. He wouldn’t need it, he reasoned, since he was bound to die soon. As a matter of fact, when he moved, he tore open the wound in his side and it began bleeding again. The soldier who had received the water, reciprocated by offering his sweat soaked kerchief to staunch the flow of the other’s blood. Even though it was the last gift given him by his wife, he doubted he would live long enough to forget her, so he gave it with no regrets. In this way, they passed the remainder of the day.

As night fell, they each found more in his personal gear that could be used by the other. One gave a last ration of food, the other gave an extra pair of socks. Together they built a small fire to ward off the chill of the evening. Each gave what he no longer valued, thinking that material possessions were of little importance in the face of the death and destruction they’d earlier witnessed. But each benefitted. As the night edged toward dawn, their bodies began to be renewed. As daylight broke, they looked at each other in new ways. They realized that they could not see the differences that separated them. They could not find the awfulness of each other. They continued to seek the shelter of the woods and to give to each other, and soon, they found they were both stronger.

At the end of the third day, both soldiers departed. Neither returned to his unit. Both made their ways to their homes and wives and children and parents, and each of them thought often of the one they had healed and been healed by.

HINT: Adoption is often described as a triad, implying 3 points of view and some degree of oppositionalism. That description doesn’t even take into account the actions of social workers, doctors, lawyers and such. Many times, we find ourselves at odds with the wishes of others when we choose to search, and we “go to war”. Healing often comes when we reach the end of ourselves and willingly offer what we have and accept from others, even so called “enemies”, only what they choose to give.
NOTE: I didn’t say that “justice” or “answers” come to us at those times, only “healing”.


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