"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, January 21, 2014

What Military Spouses Know

Several weeks ago I watched my husband take a knee before a new widow and present her with a folded flag on behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful nation. 

The words are simple and heart-felt and somber. The act is heart-wrenching and humbling.

That memory gives me chills.

It will never leave me.

This life becomes part of your soul. Seeing a flag rise and lower instills a quiet pride. Hearing the startling pops from a twenty-one-gun-salute rings deep within your heart. Taps over a blackened sky brings both comforting tears and humbling sorrow.

Seeing a folded flag between two straight hands ...

That consumes you.

Our community knows sacrifice in a way that never leaves us. We do not go numb to the names and the attacks and the fear. It is part of every single day of our lives. During deployment, part of every hour, every minutes, every moment. We feel it in everything we do.

We know fear. We know agonizing fear. We know guilt. We know relief. We know the guilt one can feel after that showering of relief.

We know conflict. We know heart ache.

We know how to cry in silence and pray through dehydrating sobs.

We know how many times a heart can break and be healed, break and be healed.

We know emptiness. We know sorrow. We know despair. We know weakness. We know strength and selflessness. Duty and honor. Joy beyond words and pain beyond tears.

We know what it is to fight to breathe. What it is to have your heart wrenched from your chest and be asked to keep living, to keep breathing, to keep thriving.

We know what it is to truly be first while being asked to be second. What it is to see complete innocence and resilience in a military child.

We know what it is to tell time by moves, and children's milestones by what foreign soil their daddy/mommy was on or what sea or ocean they sailed through.

We know what it is to love someone other than family unconditionally and how to maintain those relationships across regions and states. We know what it is to offer without expectation and give our time without compensation.

We know how fulfilling it is when we give and how breaking it can be when this nation takes.

We know death. We know life.

We know love. By God, we know love.