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Nov 15, 2022

At Walter Reed ArmyMedical Center years ago, I listened to a man who, although missing both legs, cracked jokes with a contagious sense of humor. The soldier’s face quickly clouded over, however, when I pointedly asked him how things were back home.

Looking down at his new prosthetic legs, he whispered, “My marriage is on the rocks, and it doesn’t look good.” The loss of his legs didn’t keep him from joking, but the wounds of his heart silenced the laughter.

In that same PT room, Gracie, walked over to a soldier missing his right leg and lying on a table working with a physical therapist. Greeting him, the soldier rudely snarled at her. The physical therapist awkwardly tried to smooth things over and told the soldier that he might want to listen to Gracie.


Swearing, he brusquely communicated his aversion.


Although stunned, Gracie quickly composed herself and, holding a nearby railing, propped her right prosthetic foot (encased in a beautiful shoe, I might add) next to his head. He'd only seen her from the waist up, but his eyes turned to witness Gracie balancing on her left prosthetic leg.


"You're not the only amputee in here, big guy," she said while staring at him.


As the two of them locked eyes, the soldier in him nodded, and they talked for a while. He shared with her that he lost his leg from friendly fire, and his resentment from being hurt by his team remained apparent.


Showing her own weaknesses and demonstrating the courage to overcome them, Gracie confronted someone drowning in resentment over wounds that should not have happened. In the process, they both walked further down the path of recovery.