Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I recall my interactions with a number of veterans living together in a group home. A number carried a diagnosis of 'schizophrenia'. I served as a chaplain for some of these individuals and many of them became my friends. I fondly remember Joe in particular. He had been in the Vietnam War and came back with serious emotional scars. He would often repeat at times, 'the shock was awful and tremendous'. I would later learn that he had been subjected to electroshock 'treatments'. Joe used to come to the chapel and we would sit and have coffee. Joe enjoyed coversation and I invited him to help set up for services and to participate as an altar server. Joe always was helpful. There were times that Joe would have some unusual behaviors but I tolerated them, and sought to know his experiences and who he was as a person. I recall one of the more unusual experiences was finding Joe in the middle of the road, kneeling, and looking towards the sky. I stopped my car and asked Joe what he was doing in the road. "I am praying." I jokingly said, 'well, I hope you are praying not to get hit by a car." Joe laughed and I took his hand and led him back to his home. I told Joe that if he wanted to pray that his room would be a far better setting. I saw the immense power in joining in, building a relationship, and seeking to understand. I remember as well that there as a veteran who frequently could annoy others and be disruptive when there was a religious service. He would ask me, "can I have some wine" and repeat this as a mantra. Though I was not sure if he was allowed to have the wine, I agreed to give him a cup at the end of the service if he would agree to respect the others. He was very respectful and together we shared a cup of wine. From there, we began a conversation, and he also began to be more kind to to the others in the group home.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

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