A warning: To my friends in real life--who make up the vast majority of my 12 readers--I am veering way off course today--away from memorable moments and Mylestones. As is obvious from the last half dozen posts, I normally don't tackle the heavy stuff. But tonight, I feel compelled to do so. So to the self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics, to the devout Jews and the bad Catholics, each of whom I know and love, I won't be the slightest bit offended if you want to sit this one out. I trust most of you already know where I stand, and that we agree we don't have to stand in the same place for us to be friends.
At 3 a.m., Caed cried out to me, terrified. He had dreamed he was lost, and upon waking, felt convinced an alligator was loose and lurking in his room. The next morning, we talked about his fears. Like a typical four year old, he was afraid of the outlandish and harmless imaginary things. And he remained naive about the real dangers, as a four year old should be, content to let his parents protect him from the fears he hadn't yet found.
At 7:30 a.m. yesterday, a soldier's wife answered her door, her freshly fatherless child in her arms, her worst fear awakened as she glimpsed the uniform behind the glass.
Several hours later and a few streets over, another woman opened her door to the same nightmare. She would have fallen to the floor, in the very gravity that brought her husband's helicopter down, but for the two small children leaning on her legs, locking their heels with hers, not yet burdened or broken from the knowing.
Nearly five years ago, my best friend answered that same horrifying door. She turned the knob just after her 11-week-old firstborn son had drifted off to sleep. She called us to come, and we wept every inch of the way to the hospital. It took weeks before my head stopped hurting from the crinkling of my brow and the trying not to cry at the office or the grocery store. I thought of my friend without her husband, of the precious little boy without his father, of my husband without his best friend, and I welled up with tears of helplessness and doubt.
The doubt was never about whether God was powerful or in control. It was always about whether He was good. So today, when I heard from my sister about these two friends in her church who lost their husbands in the same day, these families suddenly without fathers, I cried helplessly again about His goodness; and I wondered where it could possibly be.
But this is what I am learning. I am learning that our Heavenly Father protects us from the dangers that are real. He worries over the destruction of our souls, the separation from Him, the eternal dangers that so many of us ignore like naive little children.
But He does not protect us from the living of the bad dreams and from feeling we are lost. He whispers to us through our pain that there is a life beyond the present suffering. He sits silently with us in our anguish--in the nightmares so real and heavy and terrifying, the ones that we cannot escape or blink away. He reminds us that the seemingly endless grief is but a moment that will fade in the vast expanse of the Life to come.
He promises, There is Goodness. There is More. But it is not often in this suffering world that we find it.
Please pray for these two Ft. Drum families, these mothers and their young children, who lost their husbands and fathers yesterday in Iraq. Pray that their Heavenly Father will comfort them and hold them close when they wake up lost and terrified in the night.
Romans 8:38-39: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
More articles about these fallen soldiers: