Angels' Tears for Counted Sorrows
Noah called this morning. He attended the memorial service for two soldiers from a unit attached to his unit in Iraq and I recall Matt Bohling's service and tears come to my eyes. Noah said it was really hard and what made it especially difficult on him and the others there from his unit was that they knew the next memorial services will be for the soldiers from their squad -- guys they ate with, worked with, laughed with, one slept in the bunk below Noah's.
I tried to gently talk with Noah about how there must be some greater Plan set in motion by God in all this -- that while he has been wounded, he is the lone survivor of his original Bradley crew and perhaps he was spared because there is a task he has been chosen for -- even if he can not see it at this moment... he says he knows that God has both a left and a right hand and says he's pretty tired of the Left hand... but he quickly says he doesn't want to talk about God today... he's angry with God for the moment. There's not much you can say.... Haven't we all been angry with God at least once or twice?
He says he is rethinking about whether to re-enlist -- he feels perhaps he should make the military his career, become an officer so that he can lead and protect his men... A hand grabs at my heart but I say, "You know whatever choice you make, son, we'll support you 100%." "I know, Mom." No value in arguing or trying to reason him out of it at the moment. As with all of our grown children, we know that if he wants advice, he'll ask. (That's the hardest part of being a parent -- letting them make their own choices even when your heart screams, "Don't do it!") We've been there, done that with our other two sons and with this son and his military service.He's strong and capable of making choices and, more importantly, of living with the choices he makes.
I just keep thinking that he's just 20 years old... and 20 should be fun.... We, of course, worry about the strain... 40 years later his Dad recalls the losses of his friends and fellow soldiers in Vietnam... memories he says you try to lock in a room somewhere in your brain and you try not to open that door, but occasionally -- like now with the death of Noah's friends -- that door opens and you remember. We wonder if being in a war wasn't stressful enough, as if being hit by a VBIED wasn't more trauma, how will this ordeal of the deaths of so many of these closest of friends affect him? How can you possibly cope with going from house to house to comfort the grieving spouses, their children, their families? Noah admits he's hurtin', but insists he can carry on (and perhaps I have learned the real meaning of the phrase "soldiering on"?) We worry. As I wrote early in this blog, as a parent, You Always Worry.
Noah then told me that he has been given the honor of accompanying the body of one of his friends on that Hero's final journey home. I know my son is deeply honored by this... as Blackfive said, "It's about Valor, Honor and Respect." We talk very briefly about what this entails and we ask him to let us know the funeral arrangements if he gets the opportunity. I email him the very emotional and moving description of this painful process reported by Blackfive "Taking Chance Home." (Major tissue alert.)
Please continue to pray for our soldiers, for the families of our fallen Heroes, for our leaders and those that must send or command our loved ones in harm's way.
Please God, grant our dearly departed Peace in your Kingdom, and please grant the rest of us Peace on Earth.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.