Thursday, June 9, 2011
This poem is dark. It is about the ultimate betrayal of a Soldier. A Soldier I know was assigned the duty of staying behind from a mission in Iraq in the barracks, and "watching" a young Soldier who had received a "Dear John" letter. There was concern about his mental state. The young Soldier spent hours trying to lift the spirits of the grieving Soldier, and had finally lain down on the cot in the room still talking to him, but not with his eyes directly on the Soldier. When the shot rang out, two Soldiers were wounded, one fatally, and one with an invisible wound and images he will never erase.
Two things about this story bother me; first that someone without psychiatric training, credentials qualifying him, or actually the responsibility of this young man’s mental welfare, was left with a grief and guilt that should never have been his to bear. Of course there was an investigation to make sure that the surviving Soldier had not been derelict in his duty. Even I know that Soldiers are never supposed to be given assignments for which they do not have professional training. That is one of the reasons The United States of America can boast the finest fighting force the world has ever known. I know the Soldier very well, and I would not have had to investigate, his life is a living testimony to devotion to duty.
The second thing is that a commander left this young man to become a victim of the commander's lack of skill to command, when surely he should have realized that his youth made him lack the knowledge, training and skill to prevent this tragedy. In my opinion, that error in judgment screams that the commander was not qualified with the common sense and other skills critical to the position he held in a war zone, where so many lives hung in the balance of his decisions.
Many advances in the care of a Soldier’s mental health have been made since this incident, things might have gone differently today. That being said, I am going to make a strange dedication with this poem… It is dedicated to all the wives, girl friends, husbands, and boyfriends, from the youngest through the oldest, of anyone serving in the military, who have ever cheated on a Service Person while they were deployed. I won’t cast any stones, I have no right, but during a deployment… You know who and what you are… the stories of your betrayals are legendary, and understand… there are no excuses, and one day you will answer. We all do for each and every act… unless… before The Living God who has offered the shedding of His blood as the ransom for all our sin, and who stands waiting in love to forgive you cry out for his forgiveness. Like David, a man after God's own heart, who himself committed a form of this sin, you must ask God to wash you, cleanse your heart, and make it white as snow.
However, even though she may well have sought God’s forgiveness, I wonder if the young woman who penned that letter after her betrayal which the Soldier discovered on the internet, has ever had a peaceful night’s sleep since. I think probably not.
Smiling faces took my breath today,
Made me ask could she our love betray.
She said she meant to take the images away.
That told me she knew it was wrong that day.
The pictures were made on a day in May,
All this time she had allowed them to stay.
She will never know the price I have had to pay,
While I went to war and she stayed.
My heart aches and I can’t hold the tears at bay,
I feel loneliness has been my constant companion always,
This pain holds me captive in its sway.
I cannot escape; my world has gone dark and gray.
Her words to me a love story do not portray.
I think never will I feel loved again in any way.
I cannot in this world I am in, where all there seems to be is pain,
See within myself or anywhere, something I have the desire to gain.
Daily all around me there are those who escape this world's ultimate despair.
In this solitary place I have the means and courage their fate to share.
To anyone who has ever faced this kind of pain I would with passion and a love that comes to me for you from my Father, and which makes me stagger in awe of it's depth, promise there is an answer. The Keeper of the Stars is waiting His love and care to pour out on your broken and bleeding heart. One of His eternal, magnificent names is “The Great Physician.” He is your only hope and salvation, and He never fails. The power of His love is everlasting, just as you are. To quote one of my favorite authors, “You do not have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body.” I would say to you also, without question, you too will exist somewhere eternally. Leaving this life you will only step out into your eternal life. It is God’s greatest desire, the thing for which He made the truly “ultimate sacrifice,” to spend that eternal existence with you in His presence, and at the center of His unfathomable love. God will help you through this, suicide is an act of rebellion and a demonstrates a lack of faith in God. If you will trust Him, He will meet your every need, he will heal your heart, and restore you joy in living. God knows each of our unique needs, and always validates the worth to Him of each individual by bringing His divine power, grace, mercy, and tender love to meet those needs. He will not only see you through this, but bring good from the experience if you will but trust Him. God is not a liar or deceiver, and His love motivates all He does.
Please, if your world is dark and gray, call me day or night, send me an email, just contact me in some way. I know with certainty of His love for you personally, because by His grace and love, I am His daughter. How humbling it is, how glorious and too wonderful it is, to live in that happiness and assurance, and the privilege of being the daughter of The Eternal God. Because of this relationship, nothing can overcome me. Pain and suffering may come, but it will not overcome me. I know my Father, and all His ways. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I would love to share with you all He has done for me personally, all I have seen Him do for others. One of my dear earthly father’s favorite scriptures is found in Isaiah 41.
“Fear thou not: for I am with thee; be not dismayed: for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea I will help thee: yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
None of us ever need make the journey of this life alone… He always has grace and love sufficient for whatever comes to our lives, and unlike those around us, He is incapable of failing us. If as so many Soldiers and others do, you find yourself betrayed and with a broken heart, throw yourself without reservation on The Rock of Your Salvation. You will not need strength, you will not need courage, you will not need wisdom, and He will never require you to lift yourself up by your bootstraps. His all powerful arms will lift you to heights you have never known; as you realize the depth of His love for you. You will find too that one of God’s favorite things is to restore the years of the locust.