It might just be my theme for 2010 and I've had to use it so far.
My brother is in the military. He is a Marine. He will most likely be deploying this year. My family sends me a LOT of those pray for military chains. A LOT of them. And I'll be honest, I pray every day but I don't always forward them. But this week, for some reason, I did. And I added a little note to say a prayer for my brother and his wife. I only sent it to a select few, people I know who pray and who, for the most part have military backgrounds. People were very generous in their responses until I got the last one.
This one was from the only active military person I sent to. Her father was in the military, her ex-husband was, her son is graduating from a military academy this spring and she is active duty. She asked me to never send her one of these again. She went on to tell me that the "whole military thing is really overblown" that soldiers "like to be deployed" and that "many are never in danger." In addition she added she was "not sympathetic" to military or military families and that "military spouses stick together" (although she and her husband did not) and all of them "know what they are getting into when they get married." She went on to say how her mother had weathered several deployments and how she herself had been deployed and it was all okay and for me "not to take this the wrong way," because I am a "really kind person".
Okay, I am human so the message stung a little, but then I read it again. And what did I read this time, "PRAY FOR ME! PRAY FOR ME! I KNOW I AM TELLING YOU MY LIFE IS GREAT AND NOTHING IS WRONG BUT THAT'S A TOTAL LIE BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE STRONG AND I NEED YOU TO PRAY FOR ME AND NEVER STOP!"
I love this person, I really do and I pray for her every day. Life, hasn't always been kind to her. And the military that giveth so much to her also taketh so much away. She was held back two years in elementary school because of a learning disability (and moving every couple of years from base to base didn't help either). She is a middle child in a large family of almost all girls and seemed to get lost in the fray. She too went through long deployments of her father's as a child. Those things stay with you. She went through losing a very special boyfriend she thought she would marry if he wasn't going to college. After he was in an accident at the end of high school and decided to delay college he broke her heart and broke up with her. She joined the military to get away from him and everything else in the town she was living in and met her husband. Her husband was an officer. They lived everywhere and had three children. She also became Catholic because her husband is of Hispanic descent and was and she found a home in the Church. When her husband retired from the military they went back to school. Him to receive a masters, her to get her teaching certificate. They both graduated, but the US went to war and she had joined the reserves to get money for college and was activated. She was deployed although never to Iraq or Afghanistan but to neighboring countries where she worked a desk job. After returning about 3 years ago, she found the man she had married was not the man she loved any longer. She won't share details so all we know is her sons no longer see their father and her daughter has very limited contact and these were their choices. He wanted her to move out so she did. She quit her teaching job and joined the military active duty, moved to base and initiated divorce proceedings. In this time, her oldest son came to her (he is in the military academy) with the news that his girlfriend was pregnant. She found herself helping to support them as well as her other son in college and her daughter still in high school. More deployments followed and now she works a desk job in the military but hopes to have a classroom again when her time is up. And her son will graduate in May, be stationed somewhere far away with her new daughter-in-law (they will be married in May) and her grandson. Her divorce was final last year.
She is, I'm sure, battling fatigue for the military that has been ever present in her life and given her so much but at the same time asked so much in return. She lost her dream job, her marriage, her son's innocence all while reporting for duty every day. She feels as though the world is on her shoulders and I am so far away but would do anything to help move it if she would let me. She is also, I'm sure, scared for her son. And scared to let go. I mean, what mother isn't?
There will be better days for her. Days when she hopefully will be close to her grandchildren, have her classroom back, be mother of the bride, be at her son's wedding in May, and have real romantic love in her life. But until then, I know everything is NOT fine and she needs all the love and prayers we can send her way.
This incident reminded me that there will be protesters most likely when my brother deploys, there will be people who criticize me for working, there will be people who challenge me and my belief in God. But nothing I can do can be so powerful than to love these people who try to persecute me and pray for them and bless them all I can.
This friend was not trying to persecute me, as I've explained, I know there are reasons for her behavior, some of them very deeply rooted. I know she is hurting and will be for a very long time, but if I can do one thing for her and do it well I will. So I love her and I pray.
[podcast] How To Find Out Your Gifts #123
9 hours ago