"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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Towards the Smoke

I can't sleep. 

The first phone call I made when the news started was to my good friend who is a Massachusetts native. I thought her husband might be running today. 

He wasn't. But her brother-in-law was there and several cousins and friends. I don't know what they all must be feeling. I cannot imagine what they are lying awake thinking. 

Her sister's friend lost his legs. 

I can't sleep.

Logan came down the steps this afternoon and somehow I didn't hear him. He asked why there was so much red by those police officers, and if those soldiers there were his daddy's. 

He asked if he had to watch the news too.

Such innocence.

When I dropped him off at school today someone on the news was talking about the multiple bombs that went off somewhere in Iraq and I thought how horrible it must be to live in terror every day. How much those people must fear and hurt. I wondered if there was a point where it just became "every day", if it somehow phased them less. I cringed at the thought of that.

I had no idea. 

When C came home he explained what they meant about the bombs - how what they were describing makes such a horrendous impact. I knew that all of those were things he knew well.

While not sleeping I am exchanging texts with a friend who was sitting on my heart. Her dad - a native of NOLA - crossed the finish line moments before the bomb went off. Moments before.

She can't sleep either.

I cannot know what it is like to live in a nation that brings terror on its people. I cannot know what it is to live in a part of the world where days like today are normal. I cannot know what it is to hate so deeply, to have such a callous disdain for another's way of life. I cannot know how a person can place a bomb where there are children and families and human beings. 

I cannot for a moment make sense of any of that.

I cannot imagine what the victims, the many who lost limbs today, the families of the dead ... of that precious, precious eight-year-old child ... I cannot know what that despair ... what such agony must feel like ... I cannot know.

I can't sleep.

I cannot imagine what it is to live in a world of terror - daily terror.

I noticed the first person in the footage who, the second it was understood that people were hurt, ripped through the barricade. I noticed the soldiers in that footage who ran to do the same. The police and first responders who quickly fought through the metal stands and scaffolding. I noticed the many people running towards the smoke and the destruction. I noticed all of the "red" that Logan asked about and I noticed the people ripping their shirts off to place on the wounds.

We will not be a nation that accepts such hatred, such evil. We will not be a nation that succumbs to fear and despair. We will not be a nation that accepts such horrors in our daily lives. We are a nation that when hate invades, compassion pushes out. We are a country that when evil threatens our resolve, goodness rushes towards the battle. We are a nation of more greatness than hatred. A nation that rallies and links arms and raises the flag and says, "Terror will not own us. Terror will not define us."

We are a great nation - we, the people, define this nation. We will run towards the smoke. We will weep for our country. We will mourn the dead. We will heal the wounded.

We will keep our resolve. We will stand ready. We will run towards the smoke.

We will
BElieve THEre is GOOD in the world.

We will be the good and goodness will always win.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Honored to Love

"F*** the Troops" 

Yeah, that showed up in my newsfeed yesterday. 

F the troops. 

Front and center in my facebook feed.

I know my blood should boil, my heart should race, every bone in my body should harden, my muscles should tense. Steam should probably shoot from my ears. 

It just makes me sad. So, so sad. 

Because just like almost always, it was followed by an ignorant rant about how soldiers are "too stupid" to get a "real job" or get "into college" so they "catch bullets". How they are uneducated, unsophisticated, unable to "think for themselves". That anyone who can kill another human being is evil, ungodly.

It makes me sad to know that there are people - too many people - who believe and say those things. It makes me sad that there was a time that I thought the same thing.

I could sit here and list the number of highly, highly intelligent people who devote their lives in service to their country. I could cramp my fingers up arguing about the education West Point and other military academies pour into their officer candidates. I could sit here and list the number of first sergeants I have known who despite their master degrees remain enlisted because that is the life they prefer. 

I could talk about how nearly every company commander - who was "too stupid" to "get a real job" - is personally responsible for the maintenance and accountability of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of government equipment. I could talk about how much education is necessary for them to continue on in their careers. How even those at the lowest levels of this service - who are paid the least and demanded the most of - must know how to react to nine or ten different scenarios in a single breath, while maintaining the discipline necessary for handling a fire arm - sorry, "killing machine" - and protecting the lives of the comrades around him - sorry, fellow "murderers". 

I could talk about that.

I could talk about the single conversation I had with my husband about one of the moments he had to choose between his life and the life of his men, and a man - a "creature of God" - racing towards them  in a bomb-rigged vehicle. The "creature of God" willing to blow himself up in order to end both the life of my husband and the lives of the men he considered brothers. 

That "creature of God" who wanted to kill the future father of my children. 

I could talk about the "ungodly" soldier who carried out the body of a toddler so badly shot again and again and again and left in her bed that her body was filled with maggots. That toddler who was killed by her own people - those "creatures of God" - who punished her family for trying to build another nation for her - trying to build a better home for her. How "ungodly" of our soldiers to tenderly and heartbreakingly, carry her deformed and mangled body out to be buried. Her innocent, innocent body that was so sickeningly destroyed by another "creature of God". 

How "stupid" these soldiers must be to have compassion. How "ungodly".

I have learned through my own, personal struggle to overcome such ignorance, that we can't change the way some people think. That nothing I say or argue or beg will change the sentiment of this American who felt the need to type "F*** the troops." And that, that is what makes me so sad. 

I hope they are humbled enough to learn someday what I have been honored to be shown. I hope they will know someday what it is to serve - what it means. How honorably these men and women live - despite ignorance and hatred and disdain. 

I wish I could make them understand.

It makes me so sad that I can't.

I am so very honored to so intimately know what it is to love a nation, to love its people, to truly, whole-heartedly, humbly serve. 

How honored I am, to love a soldier.