Easter is arguably the holiest day in Christianity.
I am a veteran who also happens to be a practicing Catholic. What I am about to write may come across as sacrilegious. It’s the first time I’ve ever written out my thoughts/ questions toward Jesus Christ—and I am nervous as hell.
Jesus is considered the son of God. But if we as Christians believe God to be the almighty, creator of all things, then I have to assume Jesus is my brother. I too am a product of God just like all human life is a creation of God.
How different am I, or how different are you, my fellow veteran, from Jesus?
I serve/d the world’s people. I helped create miracles for many who were poor, sick, lonely, etc. I’ve been on hundreds of humanitarian missions. I am a humanitarian.
I’ve assisted to protect my flock, a vast array of people. When danger jeopardized my flock, I stepped in. I am a shepherd.
I’ve watched my fellow veterans pay the ultimate sacrifice. No, they were not tortured and crucified, yet they still paid the ultimate price. Sooner or later, my time will come — all of our times will come. Yet I believe I will be resurrected — maybe as a spirit, ghost, an angel, or just a memory — I don’t know, but I do believe. There are many who are no longer with us whose presence I feel often.
Books have been written about my fellow brethren veterans. They are not books used to worship us, they are books meant to remember us. In some regards, maybe these books are our own equivalents to the Bible.
The more I reflect on this Holy Week, I think about my brothers and sisters-in-arms. I do this as I think about Jesus. And, I ask myself, “What really makes us any different?”
Some Christians will go on reading the aforementioned and immediately ridicule such thoughts. But something I’ve been taught on several occasions by members of the Church is this: such thoughts are healthy.
I do not want to be Jesus, just like I do not want to be Bob from down the street. I want to be me, and that is exactly what God wants. I want to think, do, and be an independent person just like God created me. But I still ask myself, how different am I, or my fellow veterans, from Jesus?
I see many more similarities than I do differences. Maybe I am the blind man needing Jesus more than ever to help me see. If that is the case, I await his presence, but I know He’s already with me.
He’s been with me for a very long time and for that, I am blessed. Equally, my fellow veteran brethren have been with me as well, and I am grateful.
This is Holy Week. It is a week to question your love for God. Put yourself through some tests, reflect on who you are, and strive to make yourself better — or allow God to make you a better man or woman.
No, I am not Jesus — far from it. But I am the next best thing, a U.S. military veteran.
Kerry Patton is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force turned actor, producer, director, writer, and stunt performer.