And here we are, for the first Five-Minute Friday of 2015, hosted by Kate Motaung. The challenge is to write for five minutes on a given "theme word", posted by Kate on Thursday night...and then stop when the timer dings.
We are also linking to "Wholehearted Home".
Today's word is welcome.
Welcome back. Welcome to peace.
Why aren't you smiling?
There are few things that can be as disappointing to a family as the homecoming of a combat veteran, especially after the first deployment.
Being on the killing ground changes people. The guy or gal whose departure you mourned can seem to have vanished, replaced by a quietly wary stranger whose eyes never seem to rest on you, with joy.
The ride home can be an ordeal of catching up (on your part) and single-syllable answers on theirs. or silence.
What is wrong?
What's wrong is that it takes a long time to come all the way back from the intensity of combat, and it's a wrench leaving behind the friendships forged in stress and danger.
Your veteran is homesick.
Homesick for the fight.
There's nothing in civilian life that can measure up to the purposefulness that comes with being on the sharp end. It engenders a sense of mission, and that is not matched by home repairs.
Combat demands that loyalty be given and accepted,and it's something your average couples' dinner can't touch.
It's a transcendent experience, even if you hate it.
So welcome your veteran quietly, with warmth and understanding, and few demands.
Give them a chance to enjoy, all over again, a life in which tomorrow is virtually guaranteed.
I have to admit that ran on a couple of minutes, but I do have an excuse; my left hand is a bit mangled, and I'm a bit short of usable fingers.