Padre Nuestro

Silhouette of a soldier against the sun.

Lord Have Mercy!

Another blog today that I stumbled upon recently, with quite the name: Padre Steve’s World…Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate.

By his own report, Padre Steve is a Navy chaplain and a priest in the Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church, which is “a North American expression of the Old Catholic Church and tradition.”  He’s a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a “lover of the Second Vatican Council,” an avowed liberal (sort of, probably, well, most times…) and “a patriot [who] loves [his] country and [has] sworn an oath to defend the country and the Constitution, all of it for 34 years.”

And he’s a veteran of a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008 who has been suffering from combat trauma and the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury  ever since.

In short, there’s enough here to confuse and/or infuriate just about anybody.

Good for you, Padre.

If you’re looking for easy answers, obviously his is not the blog to be skimming as you down your Dunkin’ Donuts creme-filled before you open up your inbox and wonder why you got up that morning.

If you’re looking for honesty about the effects of War on one human being, however, have at it. With over two thousand musings to choose from, from “baseball as religion” to the Stalingrad Madonna, from welcomed feelings of sometimes-too-unfamiliar happiness to accepted feelings of always-too-familiar sadness, he will let you into his world.

Be prepared. And experience.

As a mental health professional, I cannot overstate the value of writings such as the good Padre’s to help me stay grounded in a reality beyond journal articles and case conferences with colleagues. While I would not use the word skeptical to describe my outlook toward the successes of our treatments (I’ve known too many people whose lives are better as a result), I would use the word chastened to describe my outlook toward the thoroughness of such treatments.

Like anyone, I want to end my day feeling as if what I’ve done has made a difference. To be aware that difference will always be a relative term is not to be a pessimist.

It’s simply being willing to be an optimist day by day, no matter what might show up in the inboxes, both literal and figurative, of our lives.

Thanks, Padre. You still have what it takes to do what needs to be done: to remind us (and yourself) that there are still connections worth looking for, striving for, and living for.

Until tomorrow, be well,

Doc

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