a poem for Veteran’s Day

Monday November 11, 2013

I owe a growing awareness about veterans to one of our grads who double majored in Catholic Studies and Sociology and received her degree at age 31 a few years back. Sarah Shaffer came to UDM later than many students because she enlisted in the U.S. Airforce shortly after high school. Her sophisticated ability to interpret complex computer data patterns led her to serve with distinction during the war in Bosnia. During her years at UDM and since, Sarah taught many fellow students and faculty about questions of justice, the need for active peace making, and about the lives of women and men after they come out of service. She also taught young Lakota children computer skills as a Red Cloud Volunteer (on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation) and is currently working with disabled veterans with PTSD as part of the Palo Alto CA division of the Veterans Administration in San Jose CA.

One thing Sarah teaches, now as her VA job but also to people like myself is that disability, wounds both physical and emotional, are honorable and that the challenge for many vets is to learn how to live with disabilities. One part of this life lesson applies to veterans and non veterans alike; learning to be flawed and beautiful at the same time. Thinking of that this morning let me to repeat the poem first posted on October 29, a first in the series of work day poems.

Posted in honor of all UDM students and grads who are veterans.

john sj

Tuesday October 29

This short prayer challenges me whenever I think to read it. It challenges me to recognize beauty while recognizing my propensity to nit pick about flaws. Flawed beauty is the only beauty on offer and, when I find the grace to notice, I come away playful and nourished.

Blessings on your day.
john sj

Prayer for Everyday

I think You want me
to let You
thank me for my generosities.

You want me
to let You
call me beautiful.

My own voice qualifies
your gratitude
— so creative, so majestic, so innocent and so kind —

But I give my permission.

July 18, 1997


p.s. UDM’s Cathlic Mass for Veterans Day will be in The Fountain Lounge at 11:30


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