Chaplain Internship: Day Two

Holy crap, so much to unpack. Already, my second day! But really rich, good stuff, so I’m not all that bothered by the challenge. I have some homework to do based on what I learned today: find local clubs in the area that offer military honors to veterans who’ve died. I say this because a WWII vet just died today when I was at work. We walked over and talked with the family, and it came up that the deceased was a WWII vet. We conversed about that for awhile, and it felt really good to be able to follow that line of conversation based on my military experience. I need to look into local clubs in the area who give military honors at funerals (Legion? VFW?). I remember being on funeral detail when I was a young buck sergeant in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania. It’s weird how I can fold a flag drapped over someone’s coffin at a funeral and never flicnch. Perfectly executed movements. The snap of the flag as we fold it, into a perfect triangle. No blue showing, whatsoever. But on the drive home, I can barely see the road. I remember this, and I tell the family – You are entitled to full burial honors.

But I shouldn’t have said that, because I don’t know. I can’t remember if you need to be honorably discharged to be eligible for this. I can’t remember if any WWII vet was ever actually dishonorably discharged. The point is, I spoke in the moment, and I don’t know if what I said was true. All I know is – I folded a couple flags at a couple of local, forgotten ceremonies for vets. I hope they look into it. I need to get more information about this.

And then a story I can’t hardly recount it’s already so long (and it’s only my second day!). But it ended with this theological rumination:

There are some things that happen in life that shake even the most able-brained of people. Things that even perfectly normal, well-adjusted adults need help with. So, imagine how these instances might disrupt an already disrupted mind. It feels like uncharted territory. The thing about it is, it’s just like sitting with someone in their grief. You sit with them. Yet so many people seem hesitant to sit with someone when they’re in cognitive disarray. At the end of the day though, it’s always about grace:

There is absolute freedom in knowing that you are wholly loved by God.


5 thoughts on “Chaplain Internship: Day Two

  1. In the times to pause, the times when we need to listen, to ask a little of, what the possibilities for future moments might be, When hearts, and minds, each think in their own way for what probabilities might come to pass. The heart, and instinct of our soul, can always outmaneuver the pace of every moments’ thoughts, in being human.

    I hope you’ve been able to help the family of the vet out above, and have been able to source information, and assistance needed to help. All the best with the unpacking.

      • A bit like, why wait when we can write a small, part of something towards a potential collective in choices beyond chance happenings. How many questions can we think of in just moments, but to find answers to others instead?

  2. I loved this line: “Yet so many people seem hesitant to sit with someone when they’re in cognitive disarray.” I think that it takes a lot of courage and inner confidence to do this, because we’re (I’m) so often used to being in exchanges where there is an equal give and take, an equal supporting and being supported. This is much more selfless, and difficult I think, at least until one is comfortable with being present with another in their time of need when the boundaries with the person are unknown, or until one realizes we are all the same down inside… This requires leadership, commitment, faith- all of it.


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