What we do
We share the burden of war...
"On Sundays, I don't hear war stories, I hear love stories."
- John Schluep
“We honor all beliefs.”
John brings a sensitivity to veterans in the circle. He served in the military before pursuing counseling and ministry work. These elements create a safe and sacred space for our community to listen, speak, and heal.
Those that come to the Sunday meetings sit in a circle surrounding the talking stick.
John goes on to say the talking stick, “carries the stories of our people.” The individual holding the talking stick is the only one allowed to speak. Once the stick is returned to the center of the circle, others may take it to share their stories.
In addition, Warriors Journey Home has agreements which are used to create safety in the circle. Some of the agreements include:
I will tell the truth.
I will not use language to harm.
I will not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
I will not interrupt when someone else is speaking.
I will actively listen with an open heart.
Those who come to Warriors’ Journey Home realize that when they share their stories with others, they’re letting go of their personal pain.
“War wounds our soul,” Warriors need to find a way to allow their wounds to bleed in order for cleansing and healing and it’s the warrior’s responsibility to make this happen.
John does not consider all stories to be war stories. Many stories speak of the awful carnage of battle and the sorrows of loss.
“On Sundays, I don’t hear war stories, I hear love stories,” John says. The stories told are about those who have an undying love for their country and love for their family members.
“Each person comes to the Warrior’s Journey Home circle for their own reason. There are many types of wounds and emotional wounds may be the hardest of all to heal, but I think you can look around in our circle healing can and does take place.” - Steve Burr, Vietnam Veteran, 101st Airborne.
The Safety of the circle
A Veteran's Perspective
In a Circle - We are all equal
By nature, the Circle is a defensive formation. It has no flanks that can be turned and presents no rear for an enemy to attack from. Each person in the circle plays an essential role in making sure the circle is closed to a hostile threat from outside the circle. In the days of cavalry charges, infantry would form squares or circles to create an impenetrable wall that no horse was willing to breech. In Vietnam, at night we formed an NDP (Night Defense Perimeter) where groups of two or three men would bed down together about 5 to 10 meters apart on some highpoint where one man from each group kept watch while the other slept. While you may not like or even know that man on the other side of the circle who has his back to you, it was understood that you all relied on each other and that if you fell asleep or ran away, you would leave a hole in the circle for the enemy to penetrate the circle and attack those men who depended on you, from behind. The thought of letting your comrades down was so deplorable that is was an unwritten law that you would fight and die in place rather than failing to protect your comrades.
When defending against an enemy we would have our weapons pointed out at the attacking force but in this Warriors’ Journey Home circle we face in and our weapons are compassion, understanding and support. Much like a heard of deer, who face each other when they bed down so that each one can see a threat coming from behind the one they are facing, each member of the circle plays an important part in closing the circle to external forces and creates a protected environment where no one has to explain how they feel, fear judgment or be criticized. Instead each member of the circle is protected and made stronger by the circle as a whole. By being part of the circle each member can feel safe and free to tell their story when they are ready. ”
- Steve Burr, Vietnam Vet