When the Lord was creating Vietnam veterans, He was into His sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared.
"You're certainly doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."
And God replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? A Nam vet has to be able to run five miles through the bush with a full pack on, endure with barely any sleep for days, enter tunnels his higher ups wouldn't consider doing, and keep his weapons clean and operable. He has to be able to sit in his hole all night during an attack, hold his buddies as they die, walk point in unfamiliar territory known to be VC infested, and somehow keep his senses alert for danger. He has to be in top physical condition existing on c-rats and very little rest. And he has to have six pairs of hands."
The angel shook his head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands ... no way."
The Lord says, "It's not the hands that are causing me problems. It's the three pair of eyes a Nam vet has to have."
"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. "One pair has to see through elephant grass, another pair here in the side of his head for his buddies, and another pair here in front that can look reassuringly at his bleeding, fellow soldier and tell him, 'You'll make it' ... when he knows he won't."
"Lord, rest. Work on this tomorrow."
"I can't," said the Lord. "I already have a model that can carry a wounded soldier 1,000 yards during a firefight, calm the fears of the latest FNG, and feed a family of four on a grunt's paycheck."
"The angel walked around the model and said, "Can it think?"
"You bet," said the Lord. "It can quote much of the UCMJ, recite all his general orders, and engage in a search and destroy mission in less time than it takes his fellow Americans back home to discuss the morality of the War, and still keep his sense of humor. This Nam vet also has phenomenal personal control. He can deal with ambushes from hell, comfort a fallen soldier's family, and then read in his hometown paper how Nam vets are baby killers, psychos, addicts, and killers of innocent civilians."
The Lord gazed sadly into the future, and paused. Quietly, He added, "He will also endure being vilified and spit on when he returns home, rejected, and then crucified by the very ones he fought for over there."
Finally, the angel slowly ran his finger across the vet's cheek, and said, "I see a problem, Lord. It's developed a leak ... I told you, you are trying to put too much into this model."
"That's not a leak", said the Lord. "That's a tear."
"What's the tear for?" asked the angel.
"It's for bottled up emotions, for holding fallen soldiers as they die, for commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the American Flag, for the terror of living with PTSD for decades after the war, alone with it's demons, with no one to care or help."
"You're a genius," said the angel, casting another gaze at the tear.
The Lord looked very somber, as if seeing down eternity's distant shores.
"I didn't put it there," God said, "he did"
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
"There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken. There is a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable. There is a sorrow beyond all grief, which leads to joy. And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength. There is a hollow space too vast for words, through which we pass with each loss, out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being."
~Bri Maya Tiwari