Down In The Valley
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Down In The Valley
Stephen A. Peterson
Roger Lee and Jeb Little had been inseparable friend since childhood. Both young men attended the same school through high school, graduated then joined the Army. Wherever Roger was assigned there was Jeb to follow soon thereafter.
Jeb had his life torn apart when an I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device) ripped through the vehicle Roger was a passenger in on their way to their base camp in Afghanistan. The explosion instantly killed Roger. After Roger’s death everything frightened Jeb—vehicle engines, sliding chairs, the sound of forks and spoons on tables. Jeb could not sleep or consume a meal without crawling under a bed or diving under a table. Jeb came so ill that he became hospitalized.
Jeb’s illness was severe enough that a psychiatrist was called in. As expected, Jeb was determined to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Ed Harp, a member of Jeb’s unit though not psychologist or psychiatrist, believed Jeb was walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. No one in the unit knew how to help Jeb. Jeb soon became a serious liability to his unit such that his Commander considered sending him back to the United States for intensive psychiatric care. Then one afternoon, Chaplain Higgins heard the sound of a soldier pounding on the chapel door. It was Jeb breathless with fear. “Chaplain Higgins, please help me! My girlfriend, Specialist Howe, is acting strange. I don’t know what to do! Help me!”
It was a scorpion’s sting. Specialist Howe was rushed to the field hospital where she received treatment. Her recovery was in a matter of hours but Jeb had made the more drastic step toward recovery—he had sacrificed his fear for love. Three months later Jeb’s commanding officer and Chaplain Higgins observed marker improvements in him. Though he continued to talk about the death of his childhood friend, he did not isolate himself from other members of his unit, was not as fearful as before nor was he a burden to the members of his unit.
If you, like Jeb, are hardened in fear and depression’s web, never despair. Begin by unraveling the knots one by one until you are free of them. It is never unmanly or unwomanly to seek the help of a professional or friend as your guide. That person is generally sent by God Himself to assist you out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death or Despair to go beyond self and reach out to another. For it is said that unconditional love is a powerful motivator and will overcome most anything in life.
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I certainly enjoyed reading this. God bless.