Private Moore’s wounds bothered him, naturally. Even when the painkiller was administered his legs felt strange, bigger, heavier, not really his. So he appreciated when anyone talked to him. Anything to distract him from thinking about the feeling of his body.
The chaplain knew that was part of his job. Nothing heavy. Sure, the wounds and losses steer soldiers toward questions of an existential nature, but his job, as he saw it, was to postpone those thoughts. Keep them comforted, thankful, aware that people care.
And Moore appreciated the chaplain for this. They talked baseball. They talked small town burger joints. They talked open Kansas fields and capping jackrabbits with at .22.
“I’m glad to see you’re doing well,” the chaplain said, wrapping up.
“Father, something’s bothering me.”
“Alright. What is it?”
Moore leaned confessionally close. “When the nurse changes my bandages…. I, uh, my body reacts…”
“Oh,” the chaplain responded non-judgmentally. “That’s not something to be ashamed of.”
“But, it’s not intentional. I’m not trying.”
“There is a difference between what we do, and what we think, and how we act. I mean, sin is thought. Sin is intention.”
Moore looked unconvinced. Fell hushed. Even more close-lipped when a blue scrub-wearing young man approached and checked his chart.
“I’m just about done here, Doctor,” said the chaplain.
“You’re fine. And I’m not the doctor. Just here to change this soldier’s dressings.”
The chaplain looked back at Moore. “If I were you, I wouldn’t say anymore to anyone.”