Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Omega Experience - Part 2

We were asked to write about something we had never told anyone.  The writing had to relate to our wartime experience in one way or another.  On the second day we arranged ourselves in small groups and read what we wrote. It was not mandatory that we read - only if we chose to do so. The following is what I wrote and read:

Our ship was entering DaNang harbor.  It was midnight.  I walked up onto the open bridge and looked into the night sky.  It was quiet and very dark.  The lights in DaNang were off and everything was black.  Land was hardly visible, yet we were only about a mile away.  A flash of light exploded over the harbor and then another followed by loud "BOOMS."  More flashes followed by more booming here and there.  "What in the hell is going" I thought.  This was my introduction to the Vietnam war.  And what did I do?  I went below and got in my bunk.  I was afraid.  I thought to myself, "A shell fragment could fly over here and pierce my body or even kill me.  I must be a coward."

Confessing my secret in front of strangers gave me a  feeling of relief.  Although my experience was mild compared to others in the group, it lifted a weight off my mind.  And I question whether I could have ever held up like the brave warriors with whom I encountered in the workshop.  The suffering and pain they endured and then holding it in all those years laid  heavy on their bodies and minds.  

No one wanted to hear their stories until now.  They told their stories to each other and they listened.  They mindfully listened. They told their stories and there were tears of joy from the tellers as well as from the listeners.  The ten brave warriors who got up and read their stories in front of the entire group changed me and it changed everybody that night. 

On the first day of the workshop most of the veterans kept to themselves and were isolated individuals.  There were very few smiles and very little laughing.  On the last day everyone was hugging and there was laughter.  It was as though a heavy burden had been lifted from everyone's mind.  It was, indeed, a glorious experience.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for this overview of the activities. I am on staff for the first time this year and we were invited to attend the final event where the participants shared their story. Having worked with Veterans before I was aware of some stories, but this event was very eye-opening and healing. I was moved to join the invitation at the end to extend hugs, it was well worth it.