Wounds of All Kinds

“So, what happened to you?”

“I was shot.”

This doesn’t make sense, “You were shot?”

“Apparently snipers don’t like Blackhawk pilots.”

This guy is sitting here in front of me in a wheel chair with a massively swollen leg that has multiple wounds on it, fresh wounds.  He seems to be in fairly good spirits and fills me in on the details.  Suffice it to say that he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary, just his job, and that job put him in danger that resulted in wounds that will affect him physically and mentally for the rest of his life.

Wow do I feel like a coward now for getting out of the military when I did.  I only served 6 months in Iraq during the initial push, saw zero combat other than calling in one airstrike on what was more than likely an empty couple of buildings that I couldn’t even see.  I did it all off of a map.  I was not shot at, never felt fear for my life, didn’t get mortared at the various places we stayed from the southern tip of Iraq all the way up to Mosul.  I was very protected.  I only pulled my gun in self-defense once to get a crazy driver to show me that he didn’t have any weapons and had a legitimate complaint.  There were non-combat challenges like trying to help the guys who snagged Saddam’s sons get communications with an aircraft that was on station to give them support, and trying to talk locals into believing that we were there for them while watching out for our EOD teams who were dismantling dangerous unexploded ordinance throughout Baghdad, but nothing that was intense or surreal.

I ended up getting out of the military at the end of my enlistment right as my unit was getting ready to deploy again.  I knew they were understaffed throughout the careerfield and I was an asset that was leaving when my country needed the skills they had trained me for.  What a loser I am.  This guy was flying, probably on his third our fourth tour, and willing to stick his neck out still, all these years after 9/11 and President Bush’s decision to go into Afghanistan and then into Iraq.  I feel so indebted to this soldier for being in the spot he was in to take the hit while inserting guys on the ground.  I can’t imagine what the guys on the ground were getting into if there was a sniper taking pop shots at the pilots.

Nothing compares to that sacrifice.  Not even martyrs for religious reasons.  I can’t see me getting beheaded in the remote corners of the Philippines by some radical Islamist as being the same as sacrificing myself for my country.  Is that wrong?  Does that mean I am not a true believer of who Jesus is and what He did?

I mean this guy could have died.  What if he did die, then would he care about the theology behind the cross?

What does this say about life in general? About having a purpose?

Why is Keith Alan Wadley here on this earth?

I can’t even provide for my family’s well-being, but I bet I could with sacrifice.  Why do I feel entitled to the things I want, like medical insurance, being able to afford to live in a safe neighborhood, having dependable transportation, eating food that I don’t have to worry about killing me from food poisoning, etc…?

I believe the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to give me my purpose, but I just can’t seem to make it the most important thing in my life.  My perspective is definitely not eternal.  I am more concerned with my next career move than I am about making an impact for the faith.  And here this guy is who can’t feel his big toe ever again and might walk with a limp the rest of his life because he cared enough to serve, even if for selfish reasons.  He still was willing to take the risk.  It just makes me feel lower than dirt for having gotten out when I did.

Am I alone?

Keith

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4 thoughts on “Wounds of All Kinds

  1. Daddy Moose says:

    Here is the background on what happened. We were out aerating and seeding lawns. This family was getting done early because it was going to rain. When we got there I see the husband in a wheel chair rolling my way. Then everything that you read transpired, including the thoughts. I thought it would make an interesting blog to see my thoughts from this run-in with a wounded soldier.

    Provision wise my family is fine. We live within our means, and sometimes above them but I work extra when that happens to keep the cash flow going. I know that we are not suffering in our daily lives right now. I mean I ate so much food today that I could have fed twenty people in a starving nation. That might be a slight exaggeration but you get the point. We have stuff, stuff, and more stuff. If I got that hungry it would all get sold, especially if my kids need medical care or food. I also see medical care as a privilege and not a right. This is the first time I have had to live that out though and yet I am still digging into taxpayer dollars to keep my kids covered. So there is some disconnect between what I believe and how I am living, other than for Heather and I. I just understand that we have some great and amazing health care stuff here in America that other places don’t have. If I can sacrifice to get it then I should but we aren’t willing to sacrifice to do that so we don’t. Sacrifice what? Time. We have a lifestyle that we like to live and it doesn’t include working third shift in a factory to where I never see my family because my hours are so crazy. We would rather take the risk of something bad happening and not being able to cover it.

    When it comes to my military service, 100% yes I regret getting out when I did. Had I done another tour, especially to somewhere like Afghanistan, then I would feel better about getting out when I did. I also backed out of going to war with one unit because I didn’t believe I would be able to do the job they wanted me to do without getting either the team killed or innocents killed (or both). That is what put me on the conventional side. I don’t regret that decision but it weighs extremely heavy on me knowing that people were depending on me and I backed down when they needed me. I was replaced by a far more competent guy, but I should have been there. Then in the other unit I had a lot of young guys who respected me and looked to me for leadership, as they did others. I have maintained contact with a couple of them and they say I did what I needed to do and they don’t look down on me at all. But I know what the right thing to do was. It is not about the cause as much as the guys I let down. It is not that I wanted to die or get injured, but what I did was easier than the cops who put their necks on the line every day they go to work in the states. I guess I have some sort of warrior complex. If I am not holding a gun and blowing stuff up to right some wrong in the world then I am not a man. I know that is messed up but that is how I feel about the whole affair.

    Now here I am a pathetic lawn technician making grass grow and killing weeds with chemicals that will probably kill me down the road from exposure.

  2. Amanda Jewel says:

    I hate that the computer deleted my comment. I thought I made some valid points. I think I’ll call you but I’m pretty sleepy and not sure how long I’ll be able to talk. And now MY computer is messing up too. What’s up with this stuff tonight? Anyway, I’ll call…

  3. David J. Majetich says:

    What did he take the bullet for? What does any soldier take a bullet for? Why are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, etc. over there waging war? I’m sure the families of the “enemy” feel the same pride in their soldiers as we do ours. The war machine is a money machine. “When the rich wage war its the poor who die.” Their poor and our poor. Poor desperate people. Living right off of Ft. Carson I live in a predominately army neighborhood. All of the neighbors that I know are soldiers for one reason: there are little to no other employment opportunities that compare… And when we factor in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 we can see that this economic despair [that motivates enlistees] is intentional and has been planned. If movie format is preferable to learn about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, check out Jekyll Island.

    Nationalism is as much from the ego as religion. Ego, as in that which divides…as in divide and conquer… and as in a house divided cannot stand… as in we the people are conquered and subject to “their” authority and laws. Those who fabricate laws can do so because they have the money to pay others to tote guns. They are unjust, evil beings. I pray the day hastens when we the people see the truth clearly and no longer empower them.

    I applaud all who sacrifice themselves for others. Be it the stay at home mom who gives of herself without restraint, be it the father who sacrifices himself by enduring a job that is less than desirable, or be it a mother or father who takes a bullet in the line of duty to provide food and shelter for their family. A sacrifice that is made in love is a sacrifice that is made in love; period. There is no love that is greater.

    • Daddy Moose says:

      Sorry I haven’t replied to this sooner, Dave. Valid points. I definitely understand that those on the other side of the war have families, needs, a sense of pride in what they are doing, etc… However, I do believe there is a right side to be on. Determining that “right” is the hard part and sometimes the two soldiers from opposing sides are closer in views than they might think, while the powers that be above them are farther apart than reconciliation will allow. Not sure what to do about that. Freedom exist. It is worth protecting. Every country has a right to protect their freedom in its various forms. Nationalism can get in the way of seeing things rationally and logically. I tend to favor the Constitutionalist viewpoint of isolating ourselves militarily. Defend the homeland first. This includes a stronger maritime force, a robust missile defense system, and a very strong border.

      Totally agree that a lot of sacrificing happens on the home-front that goes ignored or is not acknowledged. How many moms work two jobs to keep a roof over their kid’s heads and food on the table, regardless of the reasons.

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