I saw a Facebook post about writing to Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center before the holidays. My reaction was I CAN do THIS. Later that day I finished some hand crafted cards and wrote half a dozen cards. I invited my husband to join my effort and he wrote a couple. We both felt good about doing this. So I posted a challenge to my FB friends. Robin and Elizabeth took the bait and began writing. Each of us experienced joy and satisfaction from these simple acts.
A few weeks later, one friend and then the other said their notes had been sent back to them as undeliverable. Sure enough ours came back too. Having heard my friends’ disappointment I chose a different reaction. I saved my cards and thought, there’s a Veteran’s hospital in my city. I bet they can use these.
I visited the local VA hospital on my tiny mission and got so much more than a bargained for. A window of time on my schedule opened up unexpectedly giving me just what I needed to accomplish this task. (More about that later) Being a nurse gives me a lot of familiarity with the inside operations of healthcare and removes many barriers experienced by those unfamiliar. I felt certain VA would have a spiritual care program. That was my target.
I was efficiently directed to the chapel and the Chaplain Services office. I briefly explained that I had cards and wondered if they may have a use for them. I was treated graciously and the chaplain explained how they likely could be used. He showed me their chapel and offered more opportunities for service. The chaplain was trying to get a fix on my purpose, motivation, and connection. He became more suspicious when I asked to do a quick video of the two of us. He asked, “How are you connected?” This perplexed me slightly. I replied,” I’m a citizen interested in kindness.” I left with a big smile on my face.
As I said earlier this little side trip revealed many things to me. But for this story on note writing to veterans teaches me four things.
1. Being selfless without attachment to the outcome produces internal joy and can be shared.
2. It’s easy to be moved to act on behalf someone/thing exotic, foreign, or well recognized-
often that same need lies within my midst, in the same city, maybe even right next door.
3. Little adventures can lead to opening senses to endless possibilities and opportunities.
4. No act of kindness is wasted.