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How Veterans Can Serve Beyond the Military

Written by Justin Pearson


Posted on September 05, 2022

After active duty service, veterans re-enter civilian life and the challenges therein. This can be a difficult transition from a life of camaraderie and service in the military to feeling isolated and without purpose. The experience of closely working with a team to achieve a shared mission is lost to the individualized pursuits of modern American culture and, with it, the sense of purpose, belonging, and brotherhood.

This leads to the objective of this blog, to help veterans know “how can we serve beyond the military?” Let’s explore different realms of service and their inter-relation.

Serving Your Family

The military bonds of fellowship are reinforced by the selfless commitment of each member to lay down their life if needed for the collective and country. In a good family, the father also serves his household in this way.

A loving father will make a selfless commitment to laying down his life for the good of his family through the sweat of labor and blood of protection. A loving mother will sacrifice her time and comfort for the well-being of the children through the pains of childbirth and the work of nurturing.

As veterans served their country, they will find similar (and likely more) fulfillment in the service to their family, the foundation of the American nation. 

Serving Your Workplace

Serving your occupation is related to service to family, as the father is called to provide for his family (although the gender dynamics of the workplace have radically changed since the sexual revolution). Whatever the parents' employment situation, both can serve with integrity, diligence, and good intentions. See the sacrifices made for your work as serving your family and their future, even if the camaraderie is lacking compared to military life.

Despite the closeness of your work relationships not reaching the bond of military friendship, you can make an effort to know your coworkers and their struggles and help one another in life's challenges. Also, ideally, you can find an occupation that you feel is making a positive impact in the world and helping people through its service or products. You may have to be patient and work hard to develop a skill that benefits society in that regard.

Serving Your Community

Your community is also an extension of your family as the people you will live near, your family being the neighbors of other families. Serving your community can take many forms: volunteering with first responders as you’re able, getting to know and helping your neighbors, and functioning as beneficial community members. You can volunteer with the local school or sports leagues or organize a clean-up to remove trash from public areas.

As you serve your community, it will become closer to your heart and you will feel a more genuine sense of belonging and responsibility. Families helping and relying on each other generates trust and gratitude, bringing the entire community closer together.

Serving God

To serve God may be controversial as much of our country now does not believe in a Divine Creator of life, but hear us out on this one. We’ll start with an ancient Christian quote from the monk John Climacus:

“Whoever has become a servant of the Lord fears only his Master. But whoever is without the fear of God is often afraid of his own shadow. Fearfulness is the daughter of unbelief. A proud soul is the slave of fear; hoping in itself, in comes to such a state that it is startled by a small noise and is afraid of the dark.”

We are including serving God in this blog because veterans (and everyone) should understand the inevitable nihilism that results from an atheistic worldview. Living as though life has no meaning, purpose, or love is tragic and unnecessary. For these things, God created the world and us. To serve God is to embody the good, true and beautiful essence of life and humbly see your life as a gift from the Creator of all things.

Pride does not allow the soul to set out on the path of faith. Here is my advice to the unbeliever: let him say, "Lord, if you exist, then illumine me, and I will serve you with all my heart and soul." And for this humble thought and readiness to serve God, the Lord will immediately illumine him... And then your soul will sense the Lord; will sense that the Lord has forgiven you, and loves you, and you will know this from experience, and the grace of the Holy Spirit will be a witness in your soul of your salvation, and you will want to cry out to the whole world: "The Lord loves us so much!" ~ Silouan the Athonite.

May you find purpose and joy after military service in serving your family, work, community, and God!


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Photo credit: Getty/Drazen Zigic



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