My Grandfather was a WWII Battle of the Bulge Veteran and although his nature was to accept whatever life handed him and to move on, the memories of the brokenness and devastation that the war created left a shadow of questions that haunted him.
For years he did his best to cope, while raising a large family and tending to a farm. When his youngest grandchildren started asking about the war he found some healing by sharing stories with family and fellow veterans, but the questions themselves remained.
In 2004, 60 years after the battle he accompanied a number of veterans back to those battlefields. Considering the devastation of the homes, the cities and the lives that were directly impacted by the battles, grandpa was not sure what kind of a welcome they would receive. Much to his surprise, everywhere they went they were treated as heroes!
On one particular day Grandpa was given the opportunity to choose a destination on his own, and was accompanied by only a guide, an interpreter, and my Father. Everywhere they went that day, Grandpa was received with the same appreciation and honor that the group had been receiving. City Officials came out to meet him and shake his hand. Grandchildren ran out to thank him for their bedridden grandparents.
Grandpa was honored and shocked by the reactions he was getting and finally voiced his thoughts, “How can you be so grateful when we left your homes, cities and country in such devastation?”
The guide was a Belgium citizen that had became a political prisoner when the Nazi’s invaded and had spent time in a concentration camp. His simple response was delivered with a spirit of gratitude and understanding…
When the light of that truth met the darkness in grandpa’s memories, he began to realize that the destruction he thought he was a part of, was the catalyst for hope, freedom and healing to begin.
No matter where you live in our world. If you have sacrificed for the freedom of others. THANK YOU!
And if you are currently under-fire and experiencing brokenness in your community, your workplace, your church, or your home; be encouraged:
Brokenness can also make you more effective. Read more here.