"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.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life Changing

Hello, my name is Megan Williams and I am a volunteer for Delta Company. I am calling with a script. This call is not in regards to your soldier. I repeat, this call is NOT in regards to your soldier.

There has been a casualty within your soldier's unit ...

I cannot tell you how many of these calls I have made but I can tell you where I was when I made this set of calls for C's old unit. I was in the kitchen of another spouses house, leaning on the counter, crossing off one name after another. 

R was at the kitchen table, crossing off the names on her list. S was in her living room doing the same. Three phones. Three women. Three lists.

Name after name after name being crossed through.

This wasn't our company anymore but in every way other than on paper, it very much was. These were not my families anymore but they were the ones I knew first. These soldiers had been C's.

This call down was not mine to make - but I asked to help - because there is only so much you can ask from people. Only so many times they can make those phone calls. These families had suffered so much loss that they could recite the script with you, understood that answers could not be given, that what was in that script was all that we were allowed to say. They had received the same call so many times, throughout the entire twelve months.

I was twenty-three the first time I saw my husband come home after beginning the process of a casualty notification. Most of my friends were graduating after their 5th year of college when C called a father to tell him his son had lost both of his legs to an IED and was fighting to keep his arm. That soldier was the same age as me.

He lost both of his legs in an instant. In just one tiny, tiny second, they were gone.

Twenty-three. Fresh out of college. Fighting a war.

K - a reader - emailed me because she just went through tragedy within her husband's unit. One of his soldiers just lost his leg. Young, healthy one moment. Without a limb the next.

Her life changed when she found out. It wasn't her soldier. It wasn't his leg. But something changed. War became real.

And yes, war is very, very real to us. But once there is a casualty, a tragedy, a loss of life, of limb, of mind ... once we can grasp that, once there is that moment when it hits us, deployment becomes something else.

K said it felt like a loss of innocence.

She is so very right.

Certain things hold no value in our lives anymore. Certain things have no importance. How we see the world changes.

What we see other young people doing or NOT doing with their lives, suddenly frustrates us. What we see others placing value on, makes us want to shake them. What others take for granted, we know can be lost, and is lost daily on a battle field.

We know that these soldiers give and give and GIVE in ways so many cannot understand. The soldier C made the phone call for, STILL serves. He is still a United States Soldier who has given his legs for a nation.

The soldier K spoke of is at Walter Reed laughing and telling jokes and pushing through without his leg.

The strength.

The complete selflessness.

What they GIVE.

It is awe-filling. It makes me feel that I must do more. I must give more. I OWE them.

Because they give so, so much and ask nothing.

How few can understand. How many live their whole life without feeling this deep, soul-shaking  gratitude. How much we owe these men and women for just being willing to give -whether it is a cause you can believe in or not. Just the fact that there are people who - no matter the danger, no matter the very real possibility of loss - they will go.

There are men and women who will give all. Who are that selfless.

They walk among us, and live among us, and are ridiculed and misunderstood and protested against, with so few understanding.

Their resolve left unshaken.

It's life changing when you realize the goodness in these soldiers. It is life changing when you watch them walk again. It is life changing to know their spirits.

Life changing to know that such goodness gives so much for so little in return.

1 comment:

  1. Before I experienced deployment...I used to think military homecomings were so beautiful simply because they hadn't seen in each other in so long...Now I realize they are so powerful because at some point, whether it be for a split second, or for weeks at a time, that person thought they may never see their soldier again. So incredible how much this life changes you. I know for a fact I will never be taking anything for granted when he gets home.

    Thanks again for sharing my story,


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