A Letter from Iraq

On Wednesday, I had a long, tough day at work. Several months of stress at home and at work were beginning to get to me. I got in the car to drive home, head pounding, neck tense, feeling the physical strain that mental stress brings to the body.

And then on the radio, Daniel Schorr read a letter from a soldier in Iraq about having his tour extended another three months.

In this soldier’s words, I could hear the weariness and numbness brought on by unrelenting and unimaginable stress of his life that made my own stress seem petty and trivial. Yes, sometimes things get tough. I worry a lot about family and clients. I feel pulled in too many directions. But I don’t have to keep my mind and body at 24-hour alert for month after month after month. I don’t have to face the real possibility that I or the person next to me won’t live to see the end of the week. I don’t have to deal with this unimaginable burden while a world away from those I love.

Yes, I have stress, like we all do. I feel like I’m constantly running, constantly worrying. But that’s not true. Even in my most harried times, I have the luxury of stopping for an hour to watch some silly TV, have a drink, or sit quietly and comfortably with my partner.

I can only hope that some day soon this soldier and all the other soldiers like him will have that luxury too.

You must listen to the letter.


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