Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 513: “Redemption­– A Charmed Word”

“We tend to isolate. We tend to separate. We tend to just not want to talk to people, but you have to allow yourself to get help.” —Cory

Help: A humble plea that all so often, and sadly, finds itself fading under the myths of social correctness, personal agenda and cultural bias. Buried by the waste and byproduct of this condition we call human interaction.

Help: Universal in translation, uncountable in rendition. The genesis to miraculous healing, and contrastively, equally understood by even the most hardened of outlooks.

Help: Its cry freely carrying us through the darkest of times, while at others a thought that somehow mysteriously disappears under facades we label as insecurities, injuries and fears.

Help: The grand unifier that, when leaned on with empathetic minds, hearts and souls can breakdown barriers of countless injustices and mistrusts. Literally bonding acquaintance or stranger as it plays its role in collapsing the self-perpetuating myths of self-created or imposed perceptions.

A fact… No two of us are alike, and even in our commonalities; no two of us can identically clone or transfer our emotional selves. A point of view that can be simply defined as wonderful if looked upon with open awareness, and a grounder of actions that, if grasped by the courageous, is one that is worthy of celebration.

Consider the above a reflection of sorts, one that if accepted, chastens our flight or fight programming. Directing us to enlist in a proposed tour of duty: The acknowledgement that in this complex and damaged world, many end up falling as spiritual, emotional and physical casualties in the trenches of living.

Yet, with this awakening comes an empowering knowledge: The reality that, in a way, we are all broken to a certain degree. Yes, life can be harsh at times. People can be selfish and unaware of their impact on society.

We support; we offend. We rescue; we attack. The ebb and flow of good and evil never rests, and smack dab in the middle of it is us: We.

We: All unique. Every one of us, and, in this shared reality we call living and dying, we have space to rally. Shoulder to shoulder in a digital age that has potential to lock us together in a mission far greater than the bandwidth possessed by any one of us.

Yes, shall we reflect for a moment to examine our part in the sociological math of being one singular digit in a massive calculation of human diversity?

As if in a mental war we are endlessly bombarded. Pay it forward! Pass it on! Walk in the shoes of others! Easy words to proclaim from the pulpit of do good, but to consistently subscribe to the fullest standards of the statements is far more difficult to do. However, we have to start somewhere, and today’s stranger now friend, Cory, reveals a few keys to doing so.

“We tend to isolate. We tend to separate. We tend to just not want to talk to people, but you have to allow yourself to get help,” he advises as he speaks of his fellow returned servicemen and women.

Cory’s story is similar in many ways to hundreds, even thousands, of military warriors who have so selflessly forsaken all to serve and protect the innocent. I’ve spoken to a lot of them, learning to fully appreciate the deepest meaning of “Thank You” and “Welcome Home.” The simplest gesture that we so randomly overlook as we try to envision returning from the horrors of war.

Put our feet in the shoe of others? How can we even come close to feeling the deepest evils that have been seen through the eyes of our brave protectors of humanity; or for that matter, the imbedded visions of in your face genocidal bloodshed and the psychological side-effects bore in fighting to rescue Middle Eastern citizens from crimes against humanity. Add to that the uncertainty of full support from a government and a people who they themselves are pledged to protect, and you have a lethal cocktail of mental and spiritual shrapnel.

I’ll confess, I’m ill equipped to claim that I can fully empathize with the world the enlisted see post deployment. This is where Cory steps in.

“They helped me get my life back,” Cory expresses as he introduces not only the organization who put him on his feet, but the very non-profit where he now dedicates his life in helping his fellow servicemen and women: Working Wardrobes. Check them out. They do a lot more than clothe people.

“It’s hard to transition to civilian life…” Cory begins, “…and when I got back, I just decided to get married. Probably not the best thing to do at the time.”

Spending a morning with Cory is humbling, and within his soft voice, you would never guess the demons he has fought, the withdrawals from society, marriage and family he has faced and the anger, explosive rage and violence he has extinguished in dedicating to share the resolve he now champions.

“Think of it this way. Have you ever been so angry that your blood boils, your face heats up and you can’t control your emotions?

“That’s the way I was 24 hours a day. When I woke up, that’s all I felt, and I didn’t know how to get rid of it. I faced it and I can control it now. Now all I want to do is help others do the same.”

Cory is clear and focused in his re-found mission. “To serve others…” he calmly postures, “’…and ‘redemption’ is the word that is very strong to me.’”

With a contagious and inspiring strength Cory looks me directly in the eyes. “We are all human and we are going to make a lot of mistakes. I am a veteran and that is a part of me that will always stay, and to start my transition, I had to learn about forgiveness.”

Cory, Thank You, and Welcome Home my new friend.

What if each of us reached outside of our regular circle of
friends and interacted with someone we’ve never noticed before.

We invite you to be part of a community building effort by offering a simple smile,
a sincere conversation, a helping hand or anything that influences
the people around you in a positive way.

Then, let us know how it affected you (or even those you interacted with) and
we’ll share the combined experience with the world.

The more who participate… the greater our awareness of each other becomes.

“Every day of every year, our individual impact truly matters to someone in the world.”
—Richard Radstone, founder Operation-365


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