some zinnias from a friend’s wedding yesterday…(no picture)
…me at 32+ weeks (another appointment tomorrow)(no picture)
I’m back from a weekend retreat (?) with the worship band from Mars Hill (the new worship cd is out!)…which isn’t so much of a retreat as it is a time of dodgeball/ultimate frisbee/ridiculous endless buffet/ropes course humility interspersed with a multiple minutes of meaningful conversation, prayer, reflection and planning. Together, we are a force of music and instruments and humor and physical pain, but one-on-one, I’d say we’re pretty fabulous to know. This year there were only 4 girls along with 14 (stinky) boys. It was, at the very least, a very good time. I did not participate in the annual dodgeball madness or the harness-saavy ropes stuff…but it was fun to watch and rest. I even fell asleep outside for 2 hours…in the grass…with a breeze. Brilliance.
Clif Kennedy has headed back overseas. His wife Kat and sister Cara both wrote beautiful posts about the current state of their lives. Cara, my comments to you- after reading Kat’s latest and then yours, have inspired this…so much will be the same.
Many of you know I spent the first 16 years of my life as a military child…an ARMY brat to be specific. Dad was a tanker…and we, as a family of 4, logged years in Germany (10), Kentucky (5), and Texas (5). Dad wore bdu’s everyday for 20 years…got skin cancer on his left ear from driving jeeps in the hot sun with a cap on, went “to the field” on training missions for weeks, sometimes months, at a time, left early, came home late, ate silently, counseled young soldiers behind closed doors, picked up wayward ones late at night, and generally lived by the name “Top” (meaning First Sergeant). My brother and I sat in the back seat of the car as we were checked every day for bombs (from Libya at the time), shopped at the PX, and played in the tanks at the motorpool. I always won the girl scout cookie drive because all I had to do was set up shop in the barracks among the single 18 year-old soliders and my stock would be gone in an hour. Men were Sir and ladies were Ma’am…and we were all in it together. My dad was a soldier. He went to Saudi for 6 months when I was in the 8th grade…and he came home. [my mother…as a wife…has a whole separate role in all of this that is another book in its entirety].
So, when I think about military, I think about Dad. Dad in his greens. Dad in the field. Dad and the ARMY.
But now…my father is retired. My brother is 4 years into Air Force service, as is Grady and Clif and Dave…as was Ernie and Clay. It’s my generation’s turn. It is no longer my father I see when I turn on the news, when I study the Middle East, when I pray for safety and wisdom and humility. It is my brother…and Ernie…and Grady…and Dave… because that’s who’s in there now.
There are many things I do not understand.
But I know that I am proud…and scared…and that the
world is not really so different as it was 20 years ago.
And so I will continue to study and to pray.
I will watch the news and I will read to be informed.
And I will cheer the victories and mourn the defeats.
And I will not choose sides.
Because it’s my brother out there.
And it’s Grady.
And it’s Clif.
And it’s my dad, and his dad, and my uncles and aunts…
They’re not a faraway ideas or foreign policy.
They’re my family.
And, technically, they’re your family too.
Because you love me.
Because you love me.
And if you’ve read this far (with no pictures) then I love you too.