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The Gravity of Things, The Weight of Obedience.

January 25, 2011

(written 01/02/11)

 

So, I apologize for not writing sooner, I’ve found that I typically only write when I’m inspired, and have the time, which rarely coincide. I am waiting in the airport terminal for a flight that will take me to Atlanta, which will lead me to another flight back to Washington DC, and inevitably back to training. Smooth jazz is the intercom music of choice this morning, my coffee has too much sugar (my fault), and no one is really in the talking mood.

The school I begin tomorrow will mark a 13 week challenge of all my assets and resources, as will the job I’ll have once I’m finished. I am on my way to Infantry Officers Course.  I have had a good Christmas break. Sometimes the breaks you take are to rest the body, some are to rest the mind, this was both. Thanks to my awesome family I have been in the lap of luxury reading my new Kindle (awesome invention) for the past couple of weeks while visiting old friends, having good times, and probably spending too much money, it’s been great.

Ever looming however has been the knowledge that this plane flight would come, and it would whisk me away to a different world that will prove to be more Spartan than this one. And to be honest, it is with no great excitement I board my plane today. No one wants to leave a warm bed. No one wants to leave love.  “You signed up for this.” echoes through my head, followed closely by “Suck it up dude, it’s not that big a deal.”  Which may be true, but that does not make the situation decidedly easier.

The school I will attend for the next thirteen weeks has one purpose and one purpose only, to train you to wage war, to kill, to teach others to kill. I will run on little sleep, more than likely be overworked, stressed, and then asked to perform with harsh consequences for failure, because that’s what combat requires of you. It will force me to become comfortable with the idea of taking another humans life, which is decidedly unnatural. To kill a man is to perform a task with certain resolve. The full spectrum of war, as I have come to understand it, takes place within the six inches between your ears. If your mind is not ready, all is already lost.

Even heavier upon my heart, is the idea that I can make decisions that will get people killed, rob young men’s families of their loved one. I will die a thousand deaths to prevent the death of one of my Marines. I cannot fathom the abyss of living while knowing your ignorance took the life of one of your subordinates.

As I think about these things and what lies ahead, what role I will have to play and at what cost, I am reminded of a truth which I feel the need to make quite clear: I hate war. To catch a true glimpse of what humanity is capable of, and how truly horrific war is fills me with a feeling that I struggle to quantify into words, but if expressed, most nearly resembles a great sorrow. It is deplorable, what we do to each other.  Yet war is one of mankind’s oldest and most expensive social institutions, and shows no sign of going anywhere.  Peace is most wonderful but to choose it and pretend the other does not loom is to almost surely invite combat to your home.

I find that the chief argument in my head against such training is that God is not really in this, and surely in his mercy and goodness and grace could never ask a man to do such a thing as kill another one of his children.  So whatever it is that I’m doing truly cannot be within his will. Yet the scriptures do not match this idea, and the Lord works in warfare. So, despite my misgivings I am continually brought back to a basic truth, A Christians response to the Lord is not: “God you are not a part of this, I shall remove myself.” But instead: “God you have let this be, and I must immerse myself in it, and you in me, that I may bring light into the darkness, and mercy where there is none.” Candles only light a room when its dark, But candles who only chum around with other candles aren’t nearly as effective. To be a light, you have to go where it’s dark.

So, tomorrow, the sun will rise, and bring with it all the triumphs and sorrows that this life throws at the sons of Adam, and I resolve to look them in the eye and fear not. Joy fills my heart, and strength finds my steps. I have been called, I have been commissioned, I have been sent. I may travel this road alone, but I am never alone. I am never alone.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 16:30

    I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Acts 26:17-18

    Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. psalm 139:7-12

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