Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pedicures and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

It is Tuesday May 25, 2010. My husband and I had the best weekend ever (May 21-23)! We were blessed with a weekend get away to Rancho Mirage/Palm Desert, California. We went for a couples retreat hosted by our church, and the theme was "Extreme Makeover, Marriage Edition." We stayed at the beautiful Westin Hotel and Resort, where they are known for their "Heavenly Bed." Yes it was heavenly! So was the dual shower head! We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. It was a definitely a well needed vacation for both of us. Eliana stayed with her grandma for 3 whole days! The couples retreat was great. We met a few other couples from our church and got to fellowship with them over a pasta and salad dinner and comedy night. We attended a few workshops on marriage and came out with a better appreciation for God's design for marriage. It was a blessing to be able to hear other couples talk about their marriages and have them give us encouragement for ours. It was a relaxing weekend, Eli even got a pedicure!

We definitely splurged this weekend. We ate ahi poke, spicy tuna roll, sliders, pasta, crab legs, lobster tail, shrimp, and oysters. So we had to unwind by getting some kind of relaxation treatment. Although I had planned on getting a very expensive full body spa treatment that would include a full body massage, facial, mud bath treatment and mineral water bath, we skipped it for a simple foot refloxology and pedicure at Tina-Ray's Nail Shop next to Walgreens. After a long day of workshops, shopping, and eating things from the sea, a foot treatment was the icing on the cake.

So the guy giving us our pedicures name was Ray. I guess he is part owner of this new nail shop that he said had only been open for 2 weeks. We get to talking to Ray because he is a friendly guy and figures we must be tourists because of our 5 and Dime San Diego t-shirts and our questions about where to go in Palm Springs. Ray is a cool guy, he is Chinese and he gives great reflexology massages for the feet. After he finished mine he started on Eli. He began to tell us that he is an intern Sheriff for the city and that we should avoid drinking and driving down Bob Hope Drive because there will be check points on Saturday night. He then begins to tell us what celebrities live in Rancho Mirage and tells us that Bill Gates was a cheapscate. He said that a certain restaurant gave Bill Gates a free meal and he didn't even leave a tip! We agreed that even if you are rich you might be cheap. Then he ended up telling us that he was a Marine for 5 years. After he mentioned that, Eli mentioned that he was currently in the Navy. Ray began to tell us that he has a disability from serving in the Marines and having been sent to Iraq. This guy was on the front lines in Iraq. He said his job was the communications guy. He was part of a 5 to 6 person team that would go around the Iraqi villages looking for terrorists. From his service in Iraq and dealing with terrorists, he came back with some kind of leg injury that made him unfit to continue service and some kind of paranoia or post traumatic stress disorder. He says he gets paranoid when he hears loud sounds, and he gets paranoid when he gets home and he thinks that he left his shop open for intruders to get in, so he will drive 30 minutes back to the shop to check. He told us that he is glad that he would never go back to Iraq. He saw too many bad things. He told us that one day him and his mates were feeding this Iraqi kid who looked hungry. Then all of a sudden this kid jumps on the back of his buddy and slashes his neck and kills him. Ray saw a lot of crazy things. He saw the truth behind the war and the enemy, Radical Islam.

I decided to write about this because it really touched my heart. When Ray found out Eli was in the Navy he began to thank him for his service. It touched me because while Ray was thanking him, he was also washing his feet. I found it kinda weird that this guy who had been on the front lines protecting our freedom from the enemy, was washing and polishing people's feet. After his 5 years of service he gets a little bit of GI bill money to get his criminal justice degree, but not enough to cover his goal of law school. So here he is trying to live the American dream by opening up shop and washing people's feet. I felt humbled. It reminded me of when Jesus washed His disciples feet, even Judas' the one that He knew would betray Him and turn Him into Pontious Pilate. To me Ray is a hero. A true American hero. I like people like him. It takes a certain amount of character to not acknowledge that you are hero and end up washing people's feet. Ray knows he has a disability in his legs but it is also not stopping him from achieving his goals, he want to be a sheriff. He is also dealing with the post traumatic stress disorder. He saw his friends die out in Iraq yet he perseveres and keeps a smile on his face. He says he tosses and turns at night and checks his windows when he hears slight sounds, yet he is still getting up to open up his nail shop.

I dunno. It just bugs me to think that people think they have the biggest problems sometimes. Talking to guys like Ray puts life in perspective for me. He is just greatful that he came out of Iraq alive. I dunno if I could have seen all the things he had seen and not end up having mental issues. He seemed excited about life still, not bitter. It seems like people can be bitter but not even have a reason to be. As we left the shop I shook his hand and thanked him for his military service. He was like "no it was only 5 years." I said a prayer for him. I prayed that he would be blessed and that God would take the stress disorder away. I think it was a blessing to be able to talk to him this weekend. Him washing our feet really got to me. It was humbling.

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