It happened again. No not a PTSD meltdown or anything similar to that but another one of those circumstances where you have to scratch your head and say to yourself “I didn’t see that coming.” If you have read this site for any time at all you probably have noticed that I tend to bump into people from my past with some regularity, sometimes in unlikely places. When I run into people it just gets plain unusual. In fact if I was a Vegas odds maker and I gave odds at some of the people that I met in some of the places I met them I would be one broke odds maker. Like I’ve met a guy I sat next to in Navy Junior ROTC at Edison High School, Stockton California in West Berlin hadn’t seen each other in years and he recognized me. I met an Army Major in early August 2007 my transitional tent after arriving in Iraq who had been a 2nd Lieutenant and platoon leader in the last National Guard battalion that I served in 1995. When presenting the flag at the funeral of a retired Army Master Sergeant in 1989 I was greeted by his daughter who had been in a church singles group that Judy and I worked with. I’ve bumped across people from my Chaplain Officer Basic course in Iraq, Okinawa and even in the local area. Today was not any different as far as being to unusual for me.
I noted in a recent post I had given the invocation at the kick off for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. This prayer sets the stage for a reunion that ranks up with all of the above, maybe even higher because of the sheer improbability of it all. I had an e-mail in my inbox from a man who works as the director of our hospital military blood bank. I recognized the name as I read the e-mail. I knew him 23-24 years ago in Germany. I was the very young company commander of the 557th Medical Company (Ambulance) in Wiesbaden Germany. I was a total rookie at the command game and the unit was in a time of transition. I was a interim commander as the Group figured out what it was going to do on a permanent commander. A month or so after taking command I received the first of three new Second Lieutenant Platoon leaders, all fresh out of the Officer Basic Course. The first on deck was 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Peters. Ralph was a brainy guy but eager to do well. When I turned over command he remained and when I went stateside he was still with 557th. I occasionally think about the officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the company, especially my old Platoon, the Second Platoon. I have stayed in contact with my first XO, Pat Bradley who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel a few years back and still works for the Army as a civilian. Likewise I have kept in contact with a number of others from our sister units as well as some of the enlisted through Classmates.com and Facebook. However I was unprepared for today.
I got an e-mail from Ralph; he had seen me at the CFC kickoff. He let me know that he occasionally thought about me and prayed for me over the years and was pleased to see me as serving as a Navy Chaplain. I hope to see him sometime tomorrow. The strange thing is I know I have seen him in the hallway never seeing his name badge. I occasionally thought when I passed him that he had an uncanny resemblance to Ralph, which considering that he is Ralph this is quite fitting.
Today was also a time of some healing. I can’t go into any details except it was a good resolution and new start in a relationship that has been troubled lately. Surprisingly I seemed that God was involved too. To those who pray for me even without me asking thank you. This happened to coincide with Doctor House getting thrown in a State Psychiatric hospital. There have been a few times since I returned from Iraq where I thought that I might be better off locked up so it kind of struck a chord. The turning point was where House decided that he wanted to cooperate and get better something that I badly want. The sleeplessness, nightmares, anxiety and fear of certain situations is draining and now there is no local baseball to see that the minor league season is over I do not have that place of refuge. I don’t like the feeling of vulnerability that I have is unnerving. I just want to be better but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon and sometimes that creates a sense of despair and weariness. At the same time as the Deity Herself seems to show me improbable and even miraculous things sometimes happen. So until then I will continue to throw myself into my work, try to catch a little baseball on TV do some writing and register for my comprehensive exams to finish the Masters Degree in Military History before Christmas. If nothing else I’ll stay active to cover what I can’t fix. Someone reminded me today that I am no longer in Iraq, but was quick enough to add that part of me still was there. I hate being in two places at once. Pray for me a sinner.