While I am doing battle with strep throat, I am reposting a blog I wrote about my youngest son when he came back from war the first time. Since then, he has gone again, coming back with even more scars and more emotional loss. Two of his best friends died a few days before they were scheduled to return home. My son’s eyes have gained a look of pain I would never have imagined. He is, without exception in this mothers eyes, one of the most courageous men I know (even though he would deny it). I ask for prayers for healing for him and for all his brothers/sisters who are fighting and the families of those who have died in the quest of freedom for our country. No matter how you feel politically, no matter how much you have or don’t have, no matter what the circumstances of your life are, we still live in the greatest country on earth protected by the best men and women this country has.
John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” KJV
I sit in the softness of the early morning. The shadows of night are slowly fading beneath the coming light of dawn. You are asleep there on the sofa bed. I can see you from my favorite chair in the kitchen. I know you stayed up late last night. I heard your restless steps deep into the hours of the morning. I watch your dreams keep you from a sound sleep. Are you hearing the sound of bullets and bombs? Do you dream of the screams of your friends as they are wounded by the enemy? I want to take the hurt away. I want to clear your mind and take you back to those carefree days when you were my baby boy. I want the battle to be past and not present in your mind. I want to hold you in my lap and listen to you tell me about the fish you caught or the picture you drew or that you want to go to Mcdonalds for chicken nuggets. I want to protect you but I can’t. You’re all grown up now.
My son is a soldier. Like his father before him. Like his stepfathers and numerous other friends and relatives. A volunteer in a military that no longer knows what peace is like. His great uncle who fought in vietnam can tell him how it feels, but most men of his father’s and stepfather’s generation never knew what it felt like to be shot at daily for months on end. They had skirmishes and 100 day wars. The enemy gave up before they even arrived. We grew up in a peaceful world. Soldiers played at war. Now war is all around us. Boys become men and die before they are even old enough to drink legally in wars we didn’t start and can’t seem to end.
I almost lost my mind when you went off to war. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think. Life and it’s worries became a distant problem. All I could think of was you, over there, being shot at and being cold, hungry, and oh so very young. Your sister was the first of my children to go to war. While I was afraid, I knew her job kept her out of sniper range. And perhaps because we didn’t have youtube and facebook and icasualty.org and all the other daily reminders, I wasn’t filled with fear. Actually it was probably because I had both your nieces to care for and I had no time for worry. But you. You asked to be in the front of the line. First to go in, first to fire, first to be fired upon.