We tend to go through life viewing the events going on in the world with a sad but disconnected perspective. The economic crisis has untold millions of tragic stories, but because of the sheer scale of the situation, we choose to focus on our own little world. Yes, it is true that individually we are unable to solve the issues facing our world leaders today. We are not able to address the political realities of a world filled with hate and disregard of the rights of others. There are a fair number of troubled people in our world who commit heinous acts such as the pastor who was shot in his church last Sunday, or the young man who invaded our church in the Springs a little over a year ago, or the endless stream of killings taking place in our cities. For most of us those killed or injured are just a name on the news. Another sad story. We see the stories of the wars and other difficulties in the Middle East and Afghanistan. We know that many of our brave men have lost their lives. And still it is a news story coming from a media that we don’t fully trust. A media who turns too many stories into self serving bully pulpits. So until we are personally impacted by a life changing injury or the death of a loved one we remain somewhat distant and aloof.
I had the privilege this morning of sitting over breakfast with four fathers and hearing their stories. One has been devastated by the economic collapse and the other three are in the military. The one caught in the economic climate is digging hard and trying everything he knows how to do to preserve his dignity and family. One of the military dads is scrambling to complete the building of a loft bed for his daughter before he is deployed in the next 60 days. Another will be deployed in May and is working to move his kids from one school to another to change the social environment for his early teen son who has made some poor choices as friends. The third military dad is in the honor guard that attends all military funerals for his base. He has the responsibility for presenting the flag to the surviving family members. He too will likely be deployed this year for yet another tour. The three military dads are keenly interested in doing things well for their families. They want to be better dads which is what brought us all together. Like the rest of us, all are somewhere on their spiritual journeys and I know all are in the process of growing on that journey. They are dads who love their wives and their children. Going away for many months and putting themselves in harms way is not high on their list of things to do.
I share this not to decry our military activities abroad as we protect the freedom of others around the world, but to remind us that these “brave soldiers” are real people with families who go through gut wrenching tension and anxiety as they fulfill their duties. My admiration for them has grown a hundred fold today. I have once again been reminded of the very real sacrifices these men and women make as they serve our country. It would be a wonderful world if all nations lived at peace with one another and valued human life while providing even basic human dignity to their people. But the world is not like that. We see it in our own country. We have to have police and fire services to deal with the seamy side of life here in the U.S.A.
At an individual level, I think there are some small steps each of us can take not to solve the problems of the world, but to be a blessing to those who are willingly giving themselves for our country and to protect our way of life. If you have the opportunity, I would encourage you to adopt one military service man or woman and their family. Or adopt a police officer’s or fireman’s family. These are people who are putting their lives on the line for us each and every day. This does not have to be a costly venture. Notes of encouragement and remembering these families in prayer would go a long way to helping these families deal with the trauma of not knowing when they will get “the call” or that “knock on the door.” I could go on and on about my feelings today but will limit my comments for now and stand ready to engage with readers who care to comment on these thoughts.
There are two commandments that cover all others. The first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Is there a more deserving group to be the beneficiaries of our love for our neighbors?
I will post to this blog links to websites that can be trusted to help facilitate the support of military men and women and their families.