Sunday, November 13, 2011

Do I really need a healer?

I look at myself and realize, I am hurt and bleeding, in need of healing. And I think, what did I do wrong Lord?... wait a minute. Something doesn’t seem right with that question. I realize that is my natural reaction to seeing my need for a healer, which I’ve needed o so much lately. But there is something terribly wrong with that question. It means I expect that I should never be hurt. That if I experience pain I have done something wrong and I have to be punished. Any maybe I did do something wrong, but my pain is not the result of a vindictive God’s sadistic pleasure being carried out on me. God forgive me for even coming close to thinking that way.

I live in a world of sin; from the moment I drew breath I should have expected to be hurt and in need of a healer. If I didn’t need healing, I wouldn’t need a healer, I wouldn’t need God. And if I didn’t need God I’d be God. That answer I know.

As I thought about it more I realized: what would a person look like who never had been hurt at all? What would I look like if I never was hurt? A person I don’t want to be! I would be soft and live in a fantasy and never ever ever be able to minister at all, because those who need to be ministered to are… you know it – HURT!

2 Cor. 1:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”

God’s smarter than me and already said it. We are hurt so we can be comforted and then how we learned from our own comforting directly from God, we can pass that along to others. So I need to lay down my pride, which is all it is when I don’t want to be hurt. It’s pride because it’s saying, “God I don’t need you to come in a fix me, I’m fine.” “God, I don’t want to admit I need help.” “God I don’t trust that you can truly carry away all my pain. Can’t you just let me avoid it instead?” “God I don’t want to have to learn any lessons from this pain and I certainly don’t want to share it with others.” “God, I don’t want what you want for me.”
May this never be my response. I know I will have it again and I will have to confess again but I will press toward that higher goal and reach for the UPWARD call of Christ Jesus, MY Lord and SAVIOR.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On Veteran's Day, I fell in love

Aug. 2010, We drove to Tampa, his mom, sister and I to see him off at the MEPS station. I still have the visitor sticker in my bible… I’m never getting rid of that bible. He had left the night before and had gotten there earlier. We found him and then for hours sat without saying much… what was there to say? Him and I did steal a few minutes to speak about our mutual feeling that a lot was about to happen. But bootcamp we knew was to be our test. From day one of our dating we lived in a countdown until the 6 months of “regular” dating we could have would be up and then 3 months of separation would be the making or breaking of us. It was cause for many tearful nights. But that day had finally arrived when the next countdown began. We sat there knowing the storm was brewing and we didn’t know if it would dash our ship onto the rocks or push our boat to shore. But some good things had happened with the advent of his leaving… we had hope. We clung to it. I watched that Benjamin, who in retrospect seems like such a young boy, be sworn in as a defender of this nation and its constitution. We both were so young. We sat again, in more silence. It seemed all we could do was stare straight ahead but squeeze the other’s hand, clinging to that last bit of time before he was taken from me. He finally had to go. And he left with a brave smile on his face.

Sept.-Nov. 2010, Many tear stained letters and some letters that could have been novelettes were sent back and forth. We did our best to share our lives with the other though we were over 300 miles apart. The letters I received showed a different person than the one I started dating. But he was different not in how I feared and had been warned the military can “warp” men. He was honest, and honorable; hardworking and always faithful. He was listening to those perversely blessed DI’s. Honor, Courage, and Commitment was their creed and “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) was their motto. They were shaping the man I had left on hold, the man I might have waiting for me at the end of 3 months to start a life with after that… His letters were filled with stories that made my heart soar with pride in the man he was becoming, never giving up and sharing his faith even in that hell hole. I began to wonder, could it be possible? He will be even better than the man I left in Tampa? Could this possibly be the man I could give my life to forever? More scary confirmations came. Once a Sunday morning sermon convicted and showed me areas of my life that needed work. And what happened, Benjamin’s next letter came and he always included a scripture that had impacted him that week he wrote to me. That week’s scripture… you have no idea how accurately it spoke to my situation. I was not the only one to think it more than uncanny. Then I got my last letter before… I saw him again.

Nov. 10th, We road tripped up to Parris Island. No one had even been as excited to travel somewhere as I was on that trip. Nothing could touch me. I was going to meet the physical representation of the man I had come to know in these amazing love letters. I came to give an answer to the question asked many times in those letters, “will you marry me?” But I had to see, was this man real or only on paper? He told me that very thing when I heard his beautiful voice for the first time in 3 months, the Sunday before we came to see him. “I’m real Wesley. I’m not just that man on paper. All I’ve written to you is true. And I have a few things I need to ask you when I see you…” We arrived the night of the 10th, the Marine Corps Birthday. The next day we would be reunited with him at Family Day. I would see him on…

Nov. 11th. I barely slept and awoke with ease. No matter how little I slept, I was going to meet this mysteriously perfect man who claimed he was not fiction. I got ready, wanting to look perfect. And we left before the sun rose. It was cool, perfect weather. It had a sparkle, if it’s possible for air to have such. We had a 20 minute drive ahead of us. I took in all the sights out the window, eating it all up knowing it got me that much closer to him. We made our way from the car to meet the boys who had gotten there much earlier to see the colors ceremony and get every detail of the new Marines getting ready for their Motivational Run, where we could catch a glimpse of our Marine… our Marine. As we shivered in waiting, we strained out eyes searching for ours in the sea of green sweatshirts and shaven heads. They all looked the same but I knew that was far from true. There was one whose heart beat for me and I would find him. And it began; their cadences rumbled the ground in unison with the drumming of their feet on the pavement. My spirit sailed in the strength of their cries. I felt at home hearing their chanting. It was the cry of warriors, of a warrior… my warrior. And then that form I had not seen in 3 months ran right past all of us. His family jumped for joy and yelled his name. I could only stand in dumbfounded amazement… he exists. He was there. He is real. Then we had to wait for two more hours. But I didn’t mind. I had seen him. And in just two hours I would actually be able to see him face to face, speak with him, hear him, feel him. We were directed to a building. On our way we passed much of their training apparatus, buildings he had been in, lived in these months. I felt I was a in a story book. That day had a magic of its own. I was on cloud nine; not even these words can express how it felt. But it felt too real and wonderful to be true. And I passed those hours basking in the glow of the glorious sun that warmed my face almost as much as my heart was warming me internally. Finally we were moved into to arena where we would see him again and be able to have him at long last. It was a huge stadium seating arena. The masses of people were indescribable. We found our seats and sat tensely. And then the ceremony began. They played clips of the boys in training and we heard heart wrenching songs that moved our now military hearts. As we fought back tears, slowly they entered. And in all the prestige the military, nay the Marines can muster, in came our boys marching in perfect unison. Every movement was as a unit. They were one. As we searched the crowd to now find a uniformed man I could barely contain my emotions, a new sensation for a very stoic girl previously. A voice boomed over the speakers, they were released to their families… to us. Suddenly the sea of heads became a stampede of people bee lining for their Marine. I was stunned. My tears stopped. The world started to slow and my vision became zeroed in on one target: a tall, slender man standing very quietly, his eyes softly searching the crowd but not far enough to see what he was looking for. He looked away after a minute of his failed conquest and I desperately wished I knew what he was thinking now. He was such a somber figure. Is this who I was looking for; this calm and contained person? Humbleness poured from his serene figure. I had to move. The boys were faster than I pushing their way through the crowd. I was too in shock to push. I only quietly and courteously made my way past people. I wanted to will myself to shout, “MOVE!” I looked up through the few people left in my way and saw Peter hug his brother... It must be him. I saw his old smile break across his face as his friend embraced him. His baby brother was just behind him. I had to focus back on getting through this crowd. My heart was screaming, “Please, I miss my Marine too! Let me go.” It’s as if they heard me. Just as miraculous as the Red Sea, the mass of people parted and in my peripheral vision I saw the people I knew. I felt as if all eyes turned to me. But I only saw one face… quiet and older but ever so assuring, gentle and loving. I looked closer… into those beautiful blue eyes. Benjamin. The last thing I remember when I was still on my own two feet was uncontrollably taking one step toward him. The next thing I knew, somehow, I was in his arms. My feet wrapped behind his back and my tears stained his uniform. All I heard was his voice, “Shh, it’s ok. I’m real. It’s ok. I’m here.” This can’t be real can it?! He is real?! I had to step down back into reality, literally, but only for a second. I slowly came to grips with how marvelous my reality was that day as we walked in a crowd. I hung back, partially not wanting to demand his attention and partly still in disbelief. He continually would come back and get me. “There you are, I wanna talk with you” he’d say and take my arm and wrap it around the crook of him bent forearm. We delighted in the privilege of whispering and giggling again as we caught each other up on funny little stories. He squeezed my hand at the lunch table. His hand or eye was never far at any point that day… He was real. This man straight from a dream, from love letters was living and breathing and in love with me… and I knew from the moment I saw his eyes for that first time again… I was in love too. He said on the night he proposed to me almost two months later, “We fell in love through these letter”. And he was right, he stole my heart there. On November 11th I knew I could give it away. On Veteran’s Day one year ago… I fell in love.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Along the Hwang Ho Valley where young men walk and dream,

A flower boat with singing girls came drifting down the stream.

I saw the face of only one come drifting down the stream.

You are beautiful, small and shy.

You are the girl whose eyes met mine

Just as your boat sailed by.

This I know of you, nothing more,

You are the girl whose eyes met mine

Passing the river shore.

You are the girl whose laugh I heard

Silver and soft and bright;

Soft as the fall of lotus leaves

Brushing the air of night.

While your flower boat sailed away,

Gently your eyes looked back on mine,

Clearly you heard me say,'You are the girl I will love some day.'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

makes all the difference

And I remember that fight

Two-thirty AM

As everything was slipping right out of our hands

I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street

Braced myself for the "Goodbye"‘cause that’s all I’ve ever known

Then you took me by surprise

You said, "I’ll never leave you alone."

You said, "I remember how we felt sitting by the water

And every time I look at you, it’s like the first time

I fell in love with a careless man’s careful daughter

She is the best thing that’s ever been mine.

Having a man who will hang on no matter what, tell you "just take me hand and I'll do the rest"; that makes all the difference in the world...