Saturday, June 23, 2012
Today we sent Daddy off with the military. It's been a rough day, to say the very, very least. We will get to see him one more time during this deployment though, in August; so it's making things a little bit easier to handle. Knowing that, I half-way expected this morning to be easy, or at least not too hard. I was very mistaken.
Seeing my daddy hug his mother, father, brother, and baby sister goodbye was enough to make me cry. But to see the way he held my mother, how he kissed her for the last time...I was overcome with (tears) a new kind of awareness of how amazingly my daddy loves my mother. Yes, they fight sometimes and neither are perfect. But their love has held strong for almost 20 years now, and this year apart will make it even stronger. He has shown me by example how a real man is to love his wife, how he is to lead her, grow with her in the Lord, and protect her.
To see them both crying, dreading this year apart...that was tough.
And me missing him is just a whole 'nother bucket of tears. Saving that for another post...
Today, I realized something.
In a way, these men are not the "G.I. Joe" guys we think they are,. Yes they're strong, the strongest men in this country if you ask me. But they're still humans; they have emotions, families, jobs, friends, and lives. Today I saw grown men dry their eyes and wave as they left behind their wives, children, mothers, and fathers. What human being would willingly go through a period of separation from all of those things and risk never coming home?
They don't do it because they want to.
They don't do it because they have to.
They do it because they know what would happen if they didn't.
Before Daddy left, my mom said "I don't want to do this." He replied, "I have to do this. If we don't do this, it won't get done."
For them, fighting for this country becomes a calling. That's when they begin to want to fight; want to protect those they love most, and even those that don't appreciate them; want to show the love they have for their God-blessed country by sacrificing in this way.
These men love their country. They understand the need to protect the freedom we have because they realize how blessed we are to have it and how important it is.
Right now, I don't feel like appreciating the freedom they protect. And of course I really do appreciate it, I just don't feel like putting it to use or enjoying it at the moment.
And that's ok-- give me a few days, because something my daddy said in the car yesterday has made me decide to not live even the next week in mourning.
If you didn't know, my dad joined the military soon after 9/11-- war-time. He's always been a patriot (he even tried joining the Marines right out of highschool, but his mom deterred him). His daddy fought in Vietnam, his grand-daddy fought in the war before that, his great-grand-daddy fought in the war before that, and so-on. Freedom means a lot to him.
Sitting in the car yesterday, he recalled the time after September 11th. The Major League Baseball folks thought it would be a good idea to cancel the World Series for that year seeing as how it could possibly be held in New York (if the Yankees made it to the WS) which is where all the devastation took place.
Seemed reasonable, even honorable.
The U.S. soldiers would hear none of it.
Their response was this: "This is what we do. We react in times of war like this so that you can have your World Series, your fun, your freedom."
My daddy's response was similar: "Keep living life, have fun!! That's why we fight for your freedom. That's the whole reason we serve."
I've always said that I was thankful for the people who defend my freedom, but sending my daddy off on a bus with hundreds of other guys doing the exact same thing opened my eyes just a little bit more to the realness of it.
Behind every free move we make are real guys leaving behind real wives and real families.
I hope I'm not sounding obsessive about all of this.
I want to express that I think these guys play a part in the ministry of Jesus Christ as well, whether they realize it or not. They protect the freedom I have to say the name of Jesus out loud, talk openly about Him, teach others about Him, and gather with fellow believers just to praise His name.
This is a blessed country indeed. The Lord's hand has been over us since the very beginning. And despite current government/political issues and arguments, God has a plan for this country. God has a plan for every citizen of this country. And I believe God is using every soldier to preserve the right we have to live out the plan He has called each of us to.
I am thankful for those men and women he has called and chosen to protect us in this way.
I hope you all had a happy saturday.
Maybe mine wasn't the best, but Sunday is coming!
And joy will find me in the morning.
i love you all!
p.s.-- the Yankees did make it to the WS that year, but ended up losing to the AZ diamondbacks. that's ok, i don't think we're hurting too badly. we're still up by 10 or 11 wins i believe. ;)