Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
We can’t ignore the fact that in homes around our land today many are remembering someone taken from them too soon – their loved one who gave the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their life for our nation!!
Whether the loss was 3 weeks ago or 3 years ago or 43 years ago or more, the memories, the heartache, the feelings, the questions – all come flooding back. The inevitable longing for just one more day together!!
The truth is that most Americans have a hard time talking about death. There is an uncomfortableness that makes many shrink back. Pretending it doesn’t exist perhaps. Or maybe it’s because it’s the reality that life is painful and that death leaves a gaping hole or even that somehow talking about it will make it happen…after all we are all going to die.
Being a military family we are keenly aware in part of what this means. Someone quipped one day, many years ago, during the first deployment, “It will get easier.” They were lying. It didn’t. It doesn’t. It won’t. In fact Dw and I looked at each other last year, as the 9th deployment was approaching and whispered, “This is the hardest one yet.”
We’ve held our breath at times as we’ve waited for news. We’ve fasted lots. We’ve prayed through the night at times. Always knowing in the back of our mind, that life is fragile and could change in seconds. And knowing that any time together as a family is oh-so-precious. Each phone call is savored and each text is treasured.
Today, we honor one of our son’s friends – Tommy Mac. Our son speaks of his friend Tommy with deep emotion. They were close friends. They’ve fought valiantly together. They and their wives and children sacrificed so much. And then Tommy gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Taken before Tommy’s last deployment. Photo credit: US Military
Knowing how the death of his friend has profoundly affected our son, it has also deeply effected us. We pray for his widow and we pray for his young son and we pray for his family.
Friends, let’s seriously pray for families around the world who are remembering today (and every day). May we hurt with those who hurt. May we think of ways to encourage, strengthen and tangibly help those who have experienced death up close. May we never take our freedoms and our safety from the enemy for granted.
Seeing the precious faces of Tommy’s widow and son makes it so real. Pray for them and all the others.
Top and bottom photo: ©2012 Jaquilyn Shumate Photography