"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bitter and Angry Diatribe Ahead

This is not going to be pretty.  I won't be bothered if you avert your eyes and wait for a more carefree post.

It's official.  An hour ago we received The Letter from Veteran's Affairs announcing that we are getting screwed.  This letter represents the final piece of our financial picture, the one we've been waiting on for months and months.  The one that was supposed to allow us proceed with our mortgage.  The one that was supposed to alleviate our growing financial stress.  The one that was supposed to tell my husband, "Thank you for serving your country.  Here are your benefits.  Rest and Heal.  Love, the US Government."

Nope.  All that would be too easy.

Here's what happened.  After appealing three times and waiting nearly a year the US Navy awarded Donald his percentage for PTSD and deemed the injury combat related according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  A combat related ruling was vital because it allows him to collect both his retirement AND his VA benefits.  Nearly another year has gone by since then and we've been waiting patiently (sort of) for the VA to determine his percentage.  Percentage equals money.  According to The Letter, the VA is ignoring the combat related ruling which means no more money and definitely no back pay.  We are no better off with the VA "benefits" than we were without them.  No idea how the VA can get away with that but for now, they can.

Of course, we are free to appeal the decision.

I am so angry I can barely sit still.  My eyeballs feel like they are about to explode.  I did the sensible thing and made a cup of tea but I'm really thinking I should have added a healthy tot of something strong to it.  I can barely type.  I can barely collect my thoughts.  I really, REALLY want to scream at the unfairness.  If that makes me sound like Ramona Quimby, well then, I'll just be seven for a few minutes.

Yes, we will appeal but we already know that will take months and probably years.  In the meantime we have to cancel our mortgage process and be out of our lovely home by the end of the month.  We will lose our earnest money, not to mention all the money spent leasing the house and paying all its bills.  Barring a job cropping up there isn't one thing we can do except move all our stuff back into storage (oh, I can hardly wait) and move into the RV that hasn't sold.  You'd think with thirty job applications out there someone would want to hire my husband.

If I'm being honest, and right now I am definitely being honest, I am angry at God.  There, I said it.  I am a chaplain's wife and I am so angry at God I could spit and shriek like a Billingsgate fishwife.  For three and a half years I have maintained faith and hope during the black, sleepless nights when my husband was so hopeless he was in mental hospital after mental hospital.  I maintained hope and faith when he was so hopeless he was suicidal.  I had hope when he was told he was being medically retired from a job he loved.  When Donald and I married 17 years ago we knew we were dedicating our lives to ministry, to serving the Lord.  We had all sorts of hope even when I was taking 23 credits, working only 15 hours a week with Donald laid out on the couch because of a total knee reconstruction and saving was some mystical future event we hoped to practice someday.  Now, all I can think is, "God, where are you?"

I have done nothing but pray since we left Virginia in November, maintaining faith and hope that God would show us where He wants us and why.  Aside from feeling so certain that God wanted us in Salem we know nothing else.  I pray and just get emptiness and no answers.  The last two weeks have seen my hope ebb and today it completely ran out.  I'm tired.  Tired of fighting, tired of appealing, tired of praying with no answers.  I've never hit this point before.  I hope you haven't.  I hope you don't.

My youngest son just walked in and stuck a folded piece of paper on the fridge, addressed to me.  When I read it I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry, or cry really hard.  This is what it says, verbatim, minus the name change:

"Don't lose hope.
there will always be a note,
from the angels above for
you, for if you lose hope it will
be restored, for there is plenty
of hope in the gates of the
Lord, for the Lord loves all,
even if you have no hope.
from the Book of #2, Pooslm:  001
love, #2"

I'm pretty sure Pooslm was a misspelling of Psalm and I don't think the Book of #2 is part of the official canon.  So I'm probably raising a heretic but at least he has the right idea.  For now I'm going to have to borrow some of his hope because mine is gone.


  1. Oh my, I'm so sorry, Denise. How lovely that your son is able to share some hope. It's OK to be angry, though. I certainly would be! Praying for a miracle... (one that doesn't take years) -Blythe

  2. Not a heretic, Denise: a true theologian.

    I am so sorry to read this post (just got to it today). My heart is saddened, and my sense of both the injustice and the wrong of the situation is very intense right now.

    May truth and grace yet be made manifest in this tyranny of faceless bureaucracy and betrayal of what is duly and honestly owed by our nation to its soldiers.

    I will continue to uphold you all in prayers. Getting angry at God is a part of most disciples' lives. Our perspective is real, if limited. I suppose that's at the heart of what it means for God to become human in Christ and suffer right along with us.

    In the long term, this anger (like all anger) becomes poisonous. But, righteous indignation at true injustice is following in the way of Jesus (the discourses with the pharisees, the cleansing of the Temple)... and God is angered by such injustice, as well. You are on a good team here.