Today I was thinking about what a soldier would look like on paper and this is where it brought me.
A Soldier's Promise ...
I cannot promise you every night of my life. I cannot promise to be beside you for every difficult moment, every trial, every hardship. In truth, I can promise you that I will not be with you for most. I will leave you at inconvenient times. I may miss the births of our children. Any special date to us may be tainted with the anniversary of the death of one of my friends. I will ask you to take over whatever life we have built together for months and years at a time. And will then crash back into that life that you have used your sweat and your tears and your heartache to keep together and try to take it back as I knew it before. I will shut you out at times because it will be the best way for me to hold it together at that moment. I will lie to you. I will tell you I don't know things when I do. I will not always tell you where I am going, when I will be back, or who I am with. I may not call you for weeks and months and you will not be able to call me. You will ask questions that I won't answer. You will know answers to questions that you will hope you never need. I will share things with my brothers that you will never understand. They will know things about me that you never will. They will be a support to me in some things that you cannot be. I will miss birthdays. I will miss anniversaries. I will have to get to know our children over and over again. I may need time to process things that seem natural to everyone else. It will seem that someone - or something - will always take precedence over you. You may lose me long before you ever thought possible. I will uproot you and ask you to re-establish our family anywhere in the world, in any season, at any time - over and over again. Sand and mud will be tracked through your halls from the boots I am too tired to take off. I will leave you when you beg me not to. I will stand at attention while you cry beside me. I will not turn my head and I will walk away. I will knowingly break your heart. And I will do it again - and again.
I cannot promise you all of me. I cannot promise that to our children. I cannot promise you much of anything.
But if you will have me, I can promise that as I march away from you it is not without sharing your heartache. I promise you that every time I break your heart I will be breaking mine. Every time that I cannot answer you I will be protecting you. Whenever you want to call and you have no number to dial I will be wanting to do the same. I will protect everything that we have created together with every fiber of my being while you do the same back at home. I will honor you in everything - every moment that we are apart and every moment that I am with you. I will fight harder and push further knowing that I do so for you. I will see the faces of our children in every life that I protect. And I will carry you with me in everything until my sandy boots once again sit just inside our door.
An Army Wife's promise ...
I cannot promise that I will not become frustrated when you leave me and the world seems to fall apart around me. I cannot promise that I will not curse those who sent you when the dryer breaks, and the transmission needs to be replaced, and the dog eats the couch all in the same week - most likely the week after you deploy. I cannot promise that the sand and mud that cakes my floor will not cause me to give you harsh looks and rude thoughts. I cannot promise that my heart will not be torn in twelve different ways when you march away from me. I cannot promise that I will not let my anger show when you refuse to answer questions. I cannot promise to understand why you share things with your comrades that you will not share with me. I cannot promise that there won't be times when my heartache makes its presence known before my pride can mask it. I cannot promise that I will not show my worry and my concern when it is best for you not to see it. I cannot promise to understand why you do so many of the things you do.
But I can promise that for as many tears of sadness and frustration and anger that are shed there will be double that of tears of pride. I can promise you that for every time you are away from me, I will learn to cherish the times that you are with me. In everything I will honor you and honor your sacrifice. I can promise to teach our children to do the same. I will use every moment that you are not with them to show them the amazing man that you are through my actions and my pride. I can promise that there will never be a night where you are not the subject of my final prayer and the keeper of my dreams. I promise to try to be understanding that there are many things I will never understand. I promise to keep you with me in everything and to do my best to keep grace in this life. I will be strong for you as you are strong for me and I will carry you with me in every moment until your sandy boots again sit just inside our door.
Written by: Megan Williams
(These have also been circulating as "A Military Man's Promise" and "A Military Wife's Promise")
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.