Three days ago the world witnessed “Two Faces of Freedom” from opposite ends of the spectrum; the hollow and gaunt face of Israeli Defense Force soldier Gilad Shalit as opposed to defiant and robust faces of hundreds of convicted Palestinian terrorists and murderers; the innocent in exchange for the guilty. Both have gained freedom from the four walls that imprisoned them yet both groups are still not truly free.
As I viewed photos of this frail young man, my thoughts drifted off to scenes from the past that are burned in memory; skeletal images of innocent men, women and children who were subjected to horrific horrors in Nazi prison camps due to the deep-seated hatred of their captors. One can only imagine the terrors young Gilad Shalit experienced in his 1,941 days of captivity and although he is now bodily free and will gradually gain back physical strength, his heart and mind are very much in need of healing and freedom from this nightmarish ordeal. The love and support of family and friends will do much to help him but no one will ever know what he felt through all of those days of captivity. Where do you start? How do you begin?
I know there are many of us who have similar, yet hopefully not to this extent, situations with friends or family that are in the military and have seen the face of war. Even with those that are out helping at orphanages in 3rd world countries, supplying aid to the wounded and ill. They all see and experience things that we here in America only see through the news, history lessons, stories….
All of us want to be there to love and support them, but we don’t have that actual life experience that they went through. A few of my closest friends that are out there seeing these things have both told me at different times that when they come home, talk to us on the phone, through facebook chats or posts. That being ourselves as if nothing has changed but to give them that feeling that they are home, they are with their friends, their loved ones, their family. Not necessarily avoiding talking about what they’ve done, because we are friends and we want to hear each others stories. But they don’t want to feel like they are a completely different person, as if they are a new acquaintance, as much as we never want to feel that way.
It makes me ridiculously happy, overflowing with joy, every time I hear from my friends who are out there in the world making a difference. When I can take jabs at them as if they are just down the street. A quick hello, how are you? Hearing that they are doing okay. Even those times when you hear they miss you or aren’t feeling well. It’s like they are right there with you and you still feel like a part of each others lives. I love all them very much.
….and the only thing that makes me happier is when they come home. I can give them that hug. See that smile. Hang out. Just like it was yesterday.