Skip to main content

thank you, veterans

in the interest of full disclosure, let me start this way:

i hate war. 

i hate the idea of war.  i hate the word "war."  i hate thinking about or imagining or watching films or newsclips about war.  the very idea of two nations disagreeing enough to send their young men and women to go and try to kill the young men and women of the other nation is beyond staggering to me.  i am admittedly pretty comfortable in my own little corner of the world, with all my freedoms and luxuries and apparent entitlements.  so i acknowledge that it's pretty easy for me to hold that position. 

but when it comes to veteran's day, it's a different story.  all i have to do is imagine one lonely soldier, standing in a field in korea, or vietnam, or germany, or iraq or afghanistan.  all i have to do is imagine them standing there in camo, armed, maybe afraid.  all i have to do is imagine that human being standing in the midst of God's good creation, wrestling with all the uncertainties and yet feeling certain that something is worth protecting.  all i have to do is imagine you, dear veteran of war, and i am compelled to say thank you.


thank you.

thank you for saying yes.  thank you for facing your fears.  thank you for holding a gun for me.  thank you for putting yourself in a place where you had to send letters to your loved ones, and hope..pray..wait for a letter to return - a letter you surely held to your nose as you tried to absorb the home you were certainly fighting to protect.  thank you for those early mornings and those uncomfortable nights.  thank you for the countless mess hall meals and friday nights spent in foxholes.  thank you for facing the really difficult questions of life and death and protection and freedom that i don't usually have to think about.  thank you for your sacrifice.  thank you for being willing to face the ugliness of life, even though you would have probably rather stayed at home with your friends and family.  thank you.  on this day, at the very least, i realize that, though i'd rather not have to think about it, it is because of you and your willingness to sacrifice that i enjoy the life i lead today. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#thoughtsandprayers

i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …