Beautiful Heart

The more hurt and pain you have gone through in life, the stronger and more beautiful your heart will be..... 

 One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. 

 A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart. 

 Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine." The crowd and the young man looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. 

 The people stared. "How can he say his heart is more beautiful?" they thought. The young man looked at the old man's heart and saw its state and laughed. "You must be joking," he said. "Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears." 

 "Yes," said the old man, "Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love - I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared. Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn't returned a piece of their heart to me. These are the empty gouges - giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?" 

 The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. 

 The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man's heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges. 

 The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's heart flowed into his. 

 They embraced and walked away side by side



This was shared in a group that I belong to, and I felt it more than worthy of keeping.



Tears in a Bottle

Tears In A Bottle

by Deborah Ann Belka


There is a bottle up in heaven,

filling up with all your tears.

Drop by drop the Lord collects,

the full harvest of your fears.


There is not a tear that falls,

where He is not aware.

For He understands each drip,

and the cause of your despair.


When tears of unhappiness,

are followed up with grief.

He garners them in His vial,

and sends peace for your relief.


He knows the real reason,

as He gathers up your pain.

And all your hurtful tears,

to Him become like rain.


He reaps each tender trickle,

with His mercies from above.

Collects them in His bottle,

and caps them with His love.





Tears in a Bottle

 author unknown ( )


The vase laid on the ground,

broken and shattered.

What was once beautiful to behold,

was now left to be forgotten.


Pain have been my faithful partner,

and tears have been my food.

Oh, how I wished that night was day,

that winter was spring.


How I longed to hear the birds sing,

how I longed to see the flowers bloom.

When will the skies show its glory,

the sun shine its light?


But all I saw were the overwhelming waves,

all I knew were the dark, gloomy skies.

The storms of life were too much for me to bear,

O Lord, where can I run to?


And so I built my own shelter,

a place where I can lock myself in.

Oh, now I can be safe,

safe from the storms.


Lord, where were You when it hurts?

Why didn't You come to my rescue?

Why didn't You protect me from the storms?

Why did You allow my heart to bleed so?


Lord, did You not care?

Have You not seen my tears?

O Lord, Where are You,

please....answer me, Lord.


Then, I felt LOVE surrounding me.

I looked up, and saw Him.

Oh, it can't be You, Lord.

It can't be You.


And I saw a bottle in His hand,

a bottle filled with something precious to Him.

'What is it, Lord?' I asked.

'My Child, these were your tears.


For I've stored your tears in a bottle,

they are so precious to me.

Like golden drops they were made of,

like precious diamonds they were shaped.


These are tears of brokenness,

they are tears of worship.

I will turn the ashes into beauty,

and I will wrap the garment of praise over you.


Now look up and see the day dawning.

Yes, for winter has passed,

and spring has come

See, the flowers are blooming again.'


And the Lord bent down,

and gently picked up the broken pieces.

'I will make you whole again,

and I will make you stronger than ever.


You were broken so that you will know,

that I can fix those broken pieces.

For I know your every tear,

and I will wipe them all away.


Now go and tell other broken vases

to bring their pieces to Me.

Tell them that I will mend the broken pieces,

and make them even more beautiful.


Let them know too,

that I store their tears in a bottle.

None will be wasted,

because I love you so.'

Sgt William Vile, Specialist Ryan King, and Sgt James Pirtle (Fallen Heroes who gave their all May 1st, 2009)

Today we remember three of our fallen, all of which laid down their lives in service to the United States Soldiers Creed, despite receiving no support from the Afghan troops also charged with the duty of defending Bari Alai Outpost.


I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.


  In the early hours of May 1st, 2009, at a small remote base in Afghanistan called Observation Post Bari Alai, three American soldiers laid down their lives in a fierce firefight, the details of which are not all clear, as they were the only Americans stationed at this outpost, they served along side Afghan troops.

 It is suspected, by American troops serving elsewhere in that area, that the Afghan troops may have assisted the Taliban by laying down their weapons and might even have actively assisted the enemy in their plans to overrun the outpost.

 On that day, three men Sgt William Vile, Specialist Ryan King, and Sgt James Pirtle fought to the last breath, as more than 100 Taliban fighters launched an all out coordinated uphill attack on Bari Alai.

 While Taliban forces pinned down coalition troops with machine gun fire, their comrades scaled the mountain and advanced on the post. Coalition troops killed 19 Taliban fighters.

 United States Army Sgt William D. Vile, who was 27 years old, was wounded; he continued to return fire, calling in for reinforcements and artillery support. He at last succumbed to an explosion and died. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day.

 The blast from the explosion that took the life of Sgt William Vile breached the perimeter of the post, and the Taliban poured inside. Sgt James D Pirtle, 21 and Specialist Ryan C. King were killed defending the base. They were both awarded the Bronze Star for their actions that day.

 After overrunning the base, and killing its three American defenders the Taliban “captured” 11 Afghan soldiers and 1 Afghan interpreter.

 These  “prisoners” were released just hours after the United States embarked on a mission to recover them. They were released in good condition, “too good actually” according to Marine Lt Col Ted Adams.

 The 12 Afghans were questioned for six days before being returned to duty. US officials have declined to comment on their conduct.

 Read more about these brave men who gave their all, who fought to the very last breath on this day, May 1st, 2009:

 The news report regarding the attack:

 Army Staff Sergeant William D. Vile :

 “Then during his first tour in Afghanistan, he was watching as a helicopter landed with troops. As soon as it landed, the surrounding hills “lit up with enemy fire,” he told her.

He ran to get his flak vest out of his tent and took a bullet in the arm. He pretty much fought off the medics trying to attend to him.

“I need something to stop the bleeding,” he told them. “I have work to do here.””

 Army Specialist Ryan C/ King:

 “At a memorial, Spc. Gregory Landgraf read stories of King publishing a newspaper lampooning the soldiers in his unit and a time when King tied his arm behind his back and took on a sergeant during a combative match.”

 Army Sergeant James D. Pirtle:

 ““He just wanted to be part of something bigger than himself,” said Andrew Thurn, one of his best friends. “He was OK dying if he was serving his country".



PTSD Awareness, in memory of PFC Joe Dwyer

Most Americans know who Joe Dwyer is, although many may not know his name or his story. The now famous photo shown in this note brought Joe into each of our homes. Our hearts hurt for him and for the little boy that he carried in his arms. He was a hero, risking his life to save an Iraqi boy.

 On June 28th, 2008 Joe Dwyer passed from this world due to an accidental overdose. He had battled PTSD every day since returning from deployment. His marriage failed and he struggled with drug addiction, substance abuse and depression.

 For the last five years of his life this soldier, writhed in a private hell, shooting at imaginary enemies and dodging nonexistent roadside bombs, sleeping in a closet bunker and trying desperately to huff away the "demons" in his head. When his personal problems became public, efforts were made to help him, but nothing seemed to work.

 Joe served with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment as a medic. According to his accounts of that deployment he only recalled four days that lacked gunfire. The day prior to the now famous picture, Dwyer’s HumVee was hit be a rocket.

 On the day of the photo, Joe watched as little Ali’s family was caught in crossfire; he grabbed the little boy and carried him to safety. We all saw Joe as a hero, but he did not see it that way. He said this about it. “Really, I was just one of a group of guys, I wasn’t standing out more than anyone else.”

 Joe joined the military after watching the twin towers fall. He felt that he had to do something. He married the love of his life just prior to deploying to Iraq.  They looked forward to building a life together but something went terribly wrong. Upon his return, like so many combat veterans, Joe just tried to keep it together on his own. He sat with his back to the wall in restaurants; he avoided crowds, he stayed distant from his friends and loved ones. He began to abuse inhalants.

 In October of 2005 he had his first run in with the police. Convinced that there were Iraqi’s outside his window he opened fire. Three hours later police convinced him to surrender and come out. He was taken to the hospital. He tried counseling and was in and out of the hospital many times.

  On the day he died he and his wife had been apart for a year. She told the Pinehurst Pilot, “He was a very good and caring person. He was just never the same when he came back, because of all the things he saw. He tried to seek treatment, but it didn’t work.”

 Joe left behind his wife Matina and his then two-year-old daughter Meagan.

 What many may not know about Joe is that he went to Iraq, taking the place of a friend, a mother of two who was terrified about leaving her children. He convinced superiors to allow him to go in her stead. He told his family and his young wife that he would be in Kuwait and likely to stay in the rear, but unbeknownst to them he was attached to the 3rd Infantry's 7th Cavalry Regiment. He was at "the tip of the tip of the spear," in one officer's phrase.

 The man who took this famous photo said this after Joe’s death:” I don't know that the photograph of Joseph was the best one I ever took, or my favorite, but I think it represented something important. At the time, it represented hope. Hope that what we were doing as a nation in Iraq was the right thing. Hope that our soldiers were helping people. Hope that soldiers such as Joseph cared more about human life than anything else. But now when I look at the picture, it doesn't feel hopeful. It makes me realize that so many soldiers are physically torn and in such mental anguish that for some of them, hope has turned to hopelessness. That, I have to believe, is what happened to Joseph Dwyer, who was haunted by the ghosts of what he'd seen in Iraq, by fears he had lived with for too long. He could never leave the battlefield behind.”

 This beautiful and brave but broken man had once been the embodiment of American might and compassion. And yet we lost him…….I ask why….and I ask each of you to read and study the very real and hostile illness called PTSD. Be aware of the signs, be aware and watch your sons, your husbands, your brothers, your daughters and your wives and your sisters as they return from combat.

 Be aware of the symptoms, be understanding, for there is so much that they see and experience that haunts them. It really is not that hard to understand. I do not believe that it requires us to experience what they experience in order to understand. We need to equip ourselves with knowledge and we need to seek any and all help available if our loved ones are struggling from this horrible condition.

 We do not have to lose others, like we lost Joe, thanks to him and others like him there is now awareness and a multitude of programs to assist. There is also less stigma associated with PTSD and our combat veterans are now able to step out and say they need help, that they suffer from it, where in the past this was not so, many were ridiculed, or their careers were jeopardized by any such admission.

 Joe, thank you so very much for all that you gave up for us, for volunteering after 9/11, for being the kind of man willing to take the place of a friend, so that she could stay with her children, for all the aid and comfort you brought to your comrades, who fought in the bloodiest time period in Iraq. I am so very sorry that your desire and willingness to help others cost you your life, and I am so very sorry that we let you down. Rest in peace Joe Dwyer, for you are a hero, not because of a photo that brought you into our homes, but because of the man that you were, a man willing to sacrifice himself in our place, and a man willing to take aid and comfort to our wounded, even if it brought you into great danger. Rest Joe, we remember and we will do all that we can to make sure your brothers receive the help and support that they need.


Must read follow up from the reporter who took the famous photo :


Service dogs:


Training your own service dog:


If you need to talk to someone about PTSD


PTSD Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 for Veterans.


National Institute of Mental Health's Anxiety Hotline-1-888-826-9438