Building Intentional Awareness

I was in my first month of college on September 11, 2001.  In the years that followed, US troops were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Throughout these last 12 years, I have been ill-equipped and ill-informed in most war-related matters.  War remains a topic I feel unprepared to discuss. Even today.

So for the last 12 years, I haven't been aware of many specifics when it comes to what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. I haven't been intentional in my awareness of military or civilian deaths.

I found both of these links helpful in explaining the troop withdrawal processes.

Afghanistan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withdrawal_of_U.S._troops_from_Afghanistan

Iraq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withdrawal_of_U.S._troops_from_Afghanistan

I think part of me mistakenly felt like if I could just avoid knowing the specifics of what was really happening, then I wouldn't have to take responsibility.

I was wrong and naive. As a citizen of the United States, I do have a responsibility to those who serve. I have a responsibility to be aware of the issues they face when they are abroad and when they are home. I have a responsibility to hold them in prayer and help them return to build healthy, meaningful lives.

And as a human being and a Christian, I also feel a responsibility to love and serve all people. Everywhere.  People in Iraq.  People in Afghanistan.  People in Minnesota.  People in Tanzania. I have a responsibility to be praying for peace in all places, for justice to thrive, for mercy to grow deep roots.

Ignorance is really bad. And I'm realizing that being unaware of a reality doesn't make it any less real.

So no matter which way I look at it, I want to be a lot more intentional than I have been in my awareness of war and its ramifications.  I also want to be more intentional in my awareness of veterans and how to support them.

Last night I listened to The Story on NPR. It was interesting.  The young man who shared his story is an Iraq veteran and deals daily with PTSD.  He shares the 7 things you should never say to a veteran.  It's worth listening to.  http://www.thestory.org/stories/2013-03/seven-things-you-should-never-say-vet

Last week on The Chew, they shared a story about a farm out West that is providing employment opportunities for veterans.  They are trained to grow organic foods.  It was really a great story. The place is called Archi's Acres.  Here's a full link on their VSAT program:

Here's an article on one of the major concerns impacting veterans: http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day/

As we journey through this Holy Week, let us pray for health, stability, and support for individuals everywhere.

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