For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Because Not Everyone Loves Big Booms

Tonight I am sitting on the floor in my bedroom with a small fan on for noise. My dogs sit huddled against either side of me. Outside, fireworks fill the sky. In my bedroom, fear fills my dogs’ minds. One shakes uncontrollably, and the other’s face is crinkled with anxiety, her skin jumpy to even my touch. The loud booming terrifies them. Their brains do not comprehend the house-shaking explosions. They only understand the fear it causes.

It isn’t just my dogs. Last year we found three dogs around our backyard the morning of July 5th. Three dogs. Three different owners. All the dogs ran away because they were trying to escape the sounds that terrified them.  Facebook reeled with pleas for helping folks find missing dogs, and it ran post after post announcing a dog found here or there. I don’t think the owners are bad owners. I think they just don’t realize how much terrifying the flash and boom of fireworks can be. Unfortunately, some of those pets will never be found, and it isn’t because they are badly behaved or wild pets. It’s because they run so far to escape their torment, they cannot find their way home.

As I sit here and look at my dogs wrapped in a fear they can neither escape or even understand, I think of so many veterans who are affected the same way. Unlike my dogs, they understand fireworks. They know how they work, understand the reason, know to expect them. It doesn’t matter. The screaming of bottle rockets and popping of firecrackers hit their nervous system like rockets big enough to blow up a tank and machine gun fire. And those explosions that can rock the house rock their psyche like the ones that rocked the ground when they were in combat.

I sit here looking at the clock wondering how much longer the noise will go on and how long it will take before my dogs are able to recover from their fear response, and I am wondering if there are veterans wondering the same thing.

I’m wondering how many veterans are trying to drink away the torment. I am wondering how many anti-anxiety meds it takes to get through tonight. I am wondering how many are doing what I am doing, filling the air with exaggerated noise that is innocuous, sound they can control, just to drown out the noise they can’t. I wonder how many are running away or trying to simply escape the torment and end up running so far they cannot find their way home and are lost forever.

Tonight my heart is sick, and I am praying.

I will be honest. I’m praying for the terrified pets and their owners, and I am praying for the runaways to be found.

I am also praying for the veterans and those who love them. I am praying for their peace because God knows they’ve earned the right to have peace, and I am praying for those running, that they be found or find their way home. And I am praying for those who, for a war full of reasons, don’t find their way back.

If you are a veteran, I want to thank you for service that allows us this freedom we celebrate, and I pray for you and our brothers and sisters who are still fighting wars no one can see. May God bless you with the peace you so greatly deserve.

With deep gratitude and sincere prayers,

@2018 Jerri Kelley