This week, it will be a year since the publication of ‘Love song for a wounded warrior‘ a book aimed at telling the story of the late Colin Gardner, to publish his poetry and writings of his time in the military, and to share something of his experiences as a civilian coping with disability and trauma.
I am so thankful to everyone who has shared this journey with us, with grace, patience and prayer. I am so thankful for those who have listened and shared insights. I am so thankful for people who have become more aware of the plight of veterans, who often just can’t come to terms with what they have been through, and who struggle profoundly.
The book ‘ Love song for a wounded warrior’ is available by contacting me directly, or through Amazon. It costs £10, and all the proceeds are split between the Coming Home centre in Govan, and Epilepsy Connections. So far, over £3,200 has been raised, so thankyou again. There is purpose in raising money for these two excellent charities, so others might be supported.
One of the outcomes of this process that I did not understand when I set out, was the privilege of getting to know a new online community interested in this theme. It has been a real joy to hear your stories and we all seek to support each other. It feels like a healing community, gathered under this umbrella.
I found it very difficult to share our story- it was too intensely private and personal. A song that really helped me was Mandisa ‘s ‘Born for this’ based on the story of Esther. The idea is that there is there are times you feel compelled to speak, even if you are not invited, you don’t have the floor, but you feel you need to stand apart from the crowd, and find courage to speak.
This story is a tough read. Colin’s experiences were harrowing, and for us as a family trying to help him find the support to find peace, it was messy, frustrating and often bewildering. In the midst of it, our Christian faith gave us strength, and there were many poignant and humerous moments!
I am really humbled by people’s responses, and would encourage all of us to have the courage to speak, even when we feel hesitant or if feels painful. Much prayerful discernment is needed, and talking it through with the people closest to us, and listening to God. Sometimes however, we just can’t remain silent…..
Over this anniversary week, I hope to blog a few times about some of the themes of the book, and why I want to raise awareness. As a Christian too, I want people to have freedom to be able to express the messiness, heartbreak and trauma of life. Life is often tough, and we need to be real. Hopefully this encourages others to realise that they are not alone.
I am inspired by Psalm 45 verse 1- this is the New Living translation: ‘ beautiful words stir my heart I will recite a lovely poem about the King, for my tongue is like the pen of a skilful poet.’
I am not a skilful poet, but I do want to honour God, by telling our story, and the difference that Jesus has made in our lives, so that it might encourage others in difficult and painful places.
Gracious Father, You are our Hiding Place in life’s storms, and You keep us safe. Lord Jesus You understand the ugliness and sadness of our stories, and You are with us, holding us in your love, forgiving our doubts and rebellion, and reminding us of your presence, even in the darkest places, when we feel alone and afraid. May your holy spirit always guide us, to reveal when we should be silent, and when we should speak, and may all our stories be a blessing and encouragement to others, Amen.