I am enjoying the Invictus Games this week and I have been fascinated by the poem ‘Invictus’ read aloud by our wounded warriors with great meaning and passion.
Look closely at the words of the poem; they tell of a very dark and terrible place, “… the Horror of the shade…” In this week that has also seen the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we are reminded of the most dreadful hours of human history and the harm that we do to one another. The consequences of that shocking day remain a daily battle for those who have life-changing physical or psychological scars.
The Invictus Games show us that recovery is real; by adapting, accepting and embracing change it is possible to have a meaningful life. This inspiration is invaluable for people who are still struggling with physical challenges or depression and fear. It gives that glimmer of hope. But it can also make some people feel a whole lot worse, if you are not at the right place in your recovery journey and circumstances are conspiring against you. Sometimes just getting out of bed can seem an impossible task when the day ahead seems, “black as the pit from pole to pole…” to use the words in the poem.
The last two lines of ‘Invictus’ tell us that control is important for moving on as well as hope. This means no longer being a victim and taking charge of what happens next. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” The words suggest a profound spiritual change, not just a practical one. It is, however, small steps that start the process of recovery; tiny goals for small changes in every day routine. These daily activities seem like nothing but they are the beginning. Not everyone will go on to tackle extreme challenges and will find peace in cooking a meal for friends or growing flowers in their garden.
It can seem overwhelming knowing how to help someone who is struggling with huge trauma and in a seemingly unreachable place. The human touch, one small act of kindness, can make all the difference. Pick up the phone, call round, send a text or a message. By doing this you are reaching out a hand of concern and showing that you care. It makes all the difference.
This coming week look out on social media for The Baton travelling to Canada for the Canada Army run with Alan Rowe and to Bulgaria with Alec Savery and the Race2Recovery team; sharing the message of concern.
Pictures below are of Daniel ‘Baz’ Whittingham, Tony Harris and Alec Savery when they were part of the Race2Recovery team competing in the Dakar Rally 2014. Baz and Tony are Invictus Games competitors. Pictures are by Gaucho Productions.
Invictus was written by Wiilian Earnst Henley (1888)