Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The waiting

I heard a quote from somewhere that war is like: "Extensive periods of boredom intersperced with brief moments of sheer terror." Army life is much like that. Today we wait... and tomorrow we wait... and probably the next day we will wait as well. Then the day after that there will not be enough time in the day. And, that will go on for the next few days like that. There will be so much to do that I will be pulling my hair out, and then I will be back to waiting. If only there was a way to do some prep for the busy time.

I have been thinking today that the waiting may actually be a blessing. It gives me time to talk to my soldiers. Almost forces me to do so. It is at these times, the waiting, we both have time to talk. It is interesting what you will hear from people when they have time to say anything. When the business is taken out of the language and all there is left, is whatever is inside. Business is easy, inside is not so easy.

Usually it starts out with dumb jokes. I like dumb jokes and I think everyone else does as well, if they didn't no would bother to remember them. Then sometimes, sometimes they just come out with statements that I wonder about. Statements like; "I used to be a catholic-lutheran-etc...," or "I don't believe in orgainized religion," or even really good ones like, "chaplain how do you know the bible is true."

Honest I am not making this up. Sometimes this job is just too easy. Soldiers want to know about God. They have a genuine respect at least for my position, which lends itself to a respect for God at least around me. (And in case you are wondering I don't think I got this last part backward. Respect for officers is easy to find here, respect for God not as easy) In the civillian world people are afforded a luxury, that luxury is not believing in something. Here soldiers are looking for something to believe in, they are looking for a grand purpose in this whole war thing. One soldier asked me last week, "...are we fighting evil forces in Iraq?" I told him that officially our government takes the neutral side on the whole good vs evil thing.

His question really got me to thinking. Is this war really a good vs evil fight? From a christian standpoint I believe that it is just that. I know I am walking out on a plank here. My position doesn't really afford me the luxury of a bias. But, if I have learned nothing else from my friend Joel(treading lightly is not his strong suit; if you dont believe me visit his blog), we can't sit here and believe that we are not there for a purpose. A purpose that is good. If we believed that we were there for evil purposes I think my office would be full every day. That being said these guys are still looking for a grand purpose in their involvement in this war. We seem to have the support of the American people, it makes me proud to serve when I see all the support out there. In this there is some purpose, to keep the fighting away from us, to keep the war out of our back yards. To enforce peace so hopefully my son will not be sitting at a keyboard typing notes to his wife and hoping for packages in the mail.

That is great but there needs to be something more. It is strange to be so close to history as to be able to touch it. I read stories about what my grandfather did in WWII and I am in awe. The dedication, the sacrifice, the very shaping of history at his fingertips. It is a great story, my grandmother told me the story when I was 12 and more than 25 years later I can still remember the details. They were not just fighting a war, they were conquering evil. An evil regime at its worst, you will be hard pressed to find someone to disagree with me on this point.

So I ask are we fighting that same evil today? Is terrorism the new face of evil risen from the mold of Hitler and Stalin? Who is this enemy we are fighting? Is it just a culture difference or is it Religious extremeists? That is the answer that everyone always tells me. If so it seems wierd to me that an areligious army is fighting a religious one. A lot of the guys I talk to do not want to hurt anyone, but they are protectors first and foremost. They will kill to protect those they believe to be innocents.

I used to think the guys in the movie Blackhawk down were right. "It's about the guy next to you." It is about taking care of each other, when the bullets start flying we are there to cover each other's back. That sounds great for hollywood, but it doesn't make up much of a purpose. I hate to go out on another limb and contradict a popular book and movie, but purpose has to have much more in it than covering your buddy.

It is about the protector. Why does the sheep dog protect the sheep from the wolves? It is more than just training. The sheep dog does it because it cares about the sheep, and I believe that it also knows that the sheep cannot protect themselves from the wolves. The sheep dog is there because he knows that the wolf is there.

We are here because the wolf is out there.

3 Comments:

Blogger Carole said...

I'm sad that you and others are there and in danger - but wow! what an opportunity for the Lord. Who really is in danger - those whose lives are threatened or those whose eternities are threatened?

11:04 PM  
Blogger Roland said...

Hey, Todd. Actually, this is Mrs Ron. I don't have anything profound to say, I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. And I second what Carole said.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Visarian said...

Hi Todd

Thanks again for the risk you and your soldiers take for the rest of us to be free. The fact that you are fighting so that we will never again have to bring 5000 or so body bags to a burning building in a busy city. I do believe this is a fight of good vs evil. We are there to defend what they have sworn to destroy, and they saw fit to destroy women and children. The blood of the innocent is on the hands of these enemies. It is good to know that the other soldiers are looking to God for strength, may He supply more than you would need.

In Christ;
Joel (Vis)

1:36 AM  

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