When old people talk about the war

When old people talk about the war, I used to go “yep, yep, yep …”, nod my head politely and go on with my quiet thoughts of “is this all you can talk about?”.

Now we have been in a war, of sorts, I know better. I know the war is just about the greatest horror and epiphany both in a life, and every experience is forever after marked Pre or Post. It’s the years that people will reminisce about most when they get doddery. Or close to doddery. Or let’s just call it even at “over 40”.

Because I know these things, I listen willingly to old soldiers all the time. I almost hunt for them actually. Call me a Sympathy Sniper. I found one in the meat aisle at the grocery store today. He told me how his wife died four years ago just as they were about to leave on their trip of a lifetime. And because I know how marked he is by that battle, I asked how she died. And he gratefully (because old soldiers need to talk about the war) told me.

If this wasn’t Canada, I would have hugged him at the end, but that would be too forward. Which Canadians most definitely are not.

So I thanked him for sharing with me about his lovely wife, told him I hoped he’d still make that trip one day, thanked him for the price-match tip on lean ground beef, waved, and wished him the very best with all my heart.

I just know I kinda like talking about the war too. And I like to think it’s because I gained something from it. Not a medal of honour, but a knowledge of myself. Of others. Of how this life works. How low I can go in my personal record of Public Display of Emotion levels. How joy can be found in the darkness; treasures beyond fathoming because of it.

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Our little battle turned victorious FIVE YEARS ago tomorrow. June 10th, 2010. Jesse got Tim’s kidney. Five years tomorrow. I can’t believe it. I’m so grateful. So very thankful and content. Of course, this could all change. Right? Jesse’s Dad’s kidney is operating stirringly at 70%. It’s not 100%. But it’s also not 13%. Which is where we have been in the past.

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I just am truly grateful for now. Grateful, as I think about the war, (almost doddery and over 40), for all the people who fought beside us. Grateful. Thankful to my Jesus, who lives. Who speaks loud so I hear. Who has healed me in places I couldn’t even begin to know how to heal myself. Who shows me what love looks like lived out. I want to live like that so badly.

…. And then I want to strangle a two year old. Am so furious I wonder if I’ve popped a vein. My lofty moments come crashing down to earth so rapidly!

In the morning though, when the house is still quiet and the birds have only just started singing, I’m singing too. A heart bursting with thankfulness and praise. For a story that’s not over, but a God who have proven to me that he can be trusted with the whole of it, all the bits I cannot see.

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4 thoughts on “When old people talk about the war

  1. Beautiful and inspiring words Kim. I love the analogy of war. It made me reflect on the ‘war stories’ that we all have in our heads and our hearts. It is important to listen to those who have the courage to share and be patient with those who aren’t quite able to… Thank you for sharing yours xxx

  2. I often listen to Harry Nilsson’s song “Old Forgotten Soldier”, especially because we have an old war hero in our complex. But I also think of your family, and the war you have been in for the last several years. A war you didn’t start or want, but you fight on valiantly. The Parkers are hero’s.

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