Lost on the Path No More
I looked at the Devil and he smiled
I looked at God and he frowned
I looked at Mankind and was shunned
The Path headed to sorrow
The Path headed to despair
The Path headed to goodbye
From Where, I don't know
From Where, came a voice
From there, I was Lost on the Path No More ...
From knocking at death's door, to being allowed to take another breath, to living just for another moment, another thought ... I know not why, but my sound, my voice, my words had not finished their story. So slowly, there came a bearer of Light. And out of the darkest of shadows, darkest of holes, darkest recesses of my mind, the light started to shine on me.
What to do ...
I ended up at the veterans homeless shelter, military court, VA cognitive behavior therapy, Vet Center PTSD therapy, Veterans Alcoholics Anonymous and slowly started to put one thought, one foot in front of the other...
Five years have passed. Today, I'm a chaplain and service officer with American Legion Post 419 in Santa Clara, Calif. Grace, humility and gratitude have allowed me to help veterans and their families who are facing the same challenges that I had. I started a website called Veteranscourage.org where I share my journey to recovery from the Dark Shadow or Dark Night of the Soul with videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwVc900ku8o
On Veterans Day 2022, I met with a leader of the LGBTQ+ community here in San Jose, Calif. Together, we're collaborating on how we can reach military veterans in their community who are on that downward spiral toward suicide. We're not discriminating or turning away anyone who needs help.
I started a company called DUSA SPACE, which brings Silicon Valley emerging technologies to health-care-centric therapies. We're focused on cognition and how to reach military veterans who are on the downward spiral. The following video from four years ago shares the humble beginnings of helping veterans with PTSD and suicidal thoughts: https://youtu.be/nynJ5zcPLBs; last month I shared where new quantum technologies can help veterans overcome suicidal thoughts at the 10:40 minute mark in this video: https://youtu.be/nynJ5zcPLBs.
As chaplain, when I stand next to the coffin of a veteran, whether presiding over the service or as part of the honor guard team, I recognize how fragile, precious and fleeting our life is. We who have taken the Military Oath and have attempted to live our lives with duty, honor, courage and sacrifice ... at times it feels like our world has collapsed in on us. There is no hope, no reason to live, the pain, grief and sorrow are too much to bear ... but, deep down, is the Warrior Spirit. And those of us who are called to serve may not understand why or how, but we all have that as part of our core.
For those of us who have been given a second chance, we bring the light, we shine the light on those core values, principles and morals that are buried within the darkest depths of a veteran's soul. And every warrior understands a code that is not written, not spoken, but understood. It opens the door to love, which opens the door to compassion, which leads toward forgiveness of self and others. From there acceptance and finding out that you are Lost on the Path No More.