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.