By Diana Jones
In the quiet of a Connecticut seminary, with no distractions from the task ahead of us, 25 war veterans and civilians spent an intense weekend in April on a mission.
For the veterans, the civilians were there to support, listen, accept with love and take on some of the responsibility of our society’s decisions to send people to war. For the veterans, it was a chance to unburden themselves and to feel immersed in the world of their civilian community.
We civilians were symbols, stand-ins for the people they live among, to whom they would never share such pain that they shared with us. That gave us all an opening into each other’s worlds.
Never have I experienced the searing pain of others’ pain or felt so strongly about the civilian’s role in the warrior’s return. And never have I felt more honored by the trust of people in deep pain and grief. Many of our warrior brothers reported feeling much relief, and one said he slept better after the experience than he had in years.
The retreat was held by Soldier’s Heart (soldiersheart.net). I returned home feeling particularly tender and, at the same time, empowered to continue this work.
I have set up a Gofundme campaign to hold a similar retreat in Pittsburgh next April. My goal is $13,000, the cost to hold the retreat without cost to anyone. I am around $1,500 and need a boost to make this happen.
Type Veterans Healing Circle in the search bar once you get on the gofundme site. My campaign has the book cover title “Restoring the Soul After War,” a book by Ed Tick, a founder of Soldier’s Heart. Thank you for donating to this impressively effective cause.
Diana Jones is a journalist in Pittsburgh for whom this cause is wholly separate from my professional work. She lives on the North Side.