Monday, August 08, 2011

Driving off the Edge of the World

Yesterday I got to experience a drive on the highest paved road in North America. At over 14,000 ft., it was amazing. I have to tell you, I was terrified. The road is relatively heavily traveled, and it was very dicey when there was a car coming in the other direction - and sometimes a bicyclist on the side (which as you can see, is non-existent) of the road. When we got to the end of the road, we got out of the car and I giggled like a child - before I realized there was very little oxygen in the air. We took photos, and some of them are beautiful. I may post them here this week. But this morning, this photo of driving off the end of the world seemed appropriate.

Today is my son's 35th birthday. I may have been focused on the fact that my kids are now having birthdays that were crises to me at that age. I may have focused on many things prior to yesterday's news. The conversation I had with my daughter-in-law yesterday changed all that, and put things into perspective.

Although the news has told us that helicopter in Afghanistan was full of an elite crew of Navy Seals, there were also other people on that flight - the flight crew - and they are now dead. They were "citizen soldiers" who served along side of my son and daughter-in-law. She lost a friend, and he lost a friend. They are both devastated. My son may be coming home (from Iraq) for his friend's funeral. My son has lost friends in other wars in other places, this is my daughter-in-law's first experience of it.

I remember when my son was born, I would stare into his perfect little face, with his perfect little eyebrows and his perfect long eyelashes, and wonder if he would ever have to go to war. I prayed that by the time he came to manhood, we would somehow get past the need for wars. I am a member of the "vietnam generation," and it never occurred to me that he might actually choose to go to war. But that he did. He left home at 17 to join the Army. By the time he was 20, he was a Veteran of a Foreign War. On his 30th birthday, he was on his way to Iraq. That war changed him. He lost some friends. He got a lot older in one year. But he was relatively unscathed, considering he survived the worst year of that war. Now he is 35, he is in Iraq. His beautiful young wife and baby daughter are here. It just seems to me, in my Pollyanna mind, that he and his wife and baby ought to be together and not mourning the loss of two of their friends. But what do I know?

Today, at this moment, my sister-in-law is undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery. My brother is having a cardiac cath later today. I am praying for both of them. I lit candles at church yesterday.

My heart is heavy this morning.

But I can still place myself in the care of a loving God who has carried me through all of this life... and know that he will lovingly carry me and my loved ones through this time as well.

And I know that a drink is never an answer for me. For an alcoholic, no matter how long sober, this is a miracle. And I am grateful for it.

7 comments:

Syd said...

I hope that all will be well with those you love during these difficult times. My thoughts are with you all.

shadowlands said...

I will pray for all of you.I always keep in mind that God won't test my endurance past my own strength, He will step in at that point, He always has. I do sometimes reckon he thinks I'm stronger than I am, but..........I guess he knows where 'its' all heading and I can hardly remember where 'its' all been!

He will never let you go Mary C, so never let go of Him.

Power to the powerless.

dAAve said...

Well, maybe a heavy heart is a compassionate heart. For this, we can certainly be grateful.

I don't believe humans will ever end war. It just seems to be in our psyche.

Annette said...

(((HUG))) I'm sorry. Somedays just seem to be too heavy with concern huh. I am praying and you and those you love will be in those prayers.

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Lou said...

I love this post, it's a stream of consciousness kind of writing that you do very well.

Heights scare me. I used to have to go up in a hot air balloon with my husband when he was trying to start a business with that. I hated it, but had to act like I was trilled by the view and freedom of it all. We did drive all around Europe on roads just like this in the mountains. I never saw one accident!!

Pammie said...

I am glad your sweet daughter in law has a loving caring mother in law!