Thursday, September 29, 2005

Iraq Baptized

My son is serving his second tour in Iraq. I’m often asked, “What’s that like?”- meaning, “What’s it like to have a son there?” The answer is, “You don’t want to know from experience.”

The first time he was in country was during Iraqi Freedom. His unit survived a fragging before the original push, and then was “lost” in a sandstorm for several days as they found their way along an alternate route. They suffered the “ignominy” of a maverick newsman who had to be escorted back to Kuwait (actually a relief in the long run). My son was two blocks away when Saddam’s sons were captured. On the northern borders of Iraq my son has seen revealed what Saddam wishes had been left covered forever.

Two nephews were also along for the ride. It was, at times, excruciating to bear. It couldn’t be described. Each news report of soldier deaths cut like a knife, and yet I was addicted to the news. It was one of those, “You don’t know unless you’ve done it” periods of time. I prayed Psalm 91 and parsed John 16:33 daily. It was a time when the Hebrew imperfects and Greek perfects were of special beauty, and still are!

This time it’s different. Guns aren’t pointed so readily, and bullets aren’t firing to often this time. The adrenalin isn’t at top-flow, and every car that sounds in the street, and every ring of the phone doesn’t threaten to be “that one.” News of soldier deaths are easier to take this time. It is as if the hide has become number, thickened with the scars from the previous experience.

That is… until news of deaths that hit close. First a soldier my son knew well was killed, and then a brother of one with whom I was acquainted. It doesn’t matter if I knew the men. These deaths hit too close to “home.” They couldn’t be ignored. So, like it was previously. These deaths bit hard, and once again Iraq came with excruciating pain.

Freedom isn’t free. It’s easy to say, hard to live through. Still, there is a freedom that is free, which makes this all bearable. My son says he keeps his “butt down” and his “head lower.” There is comfort in knowing that. He was baptized on August 14, 1973. There is greater comfort in that. There is comfort in knowing those other men were, too.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Thank you for sharing. Wonderfully said.