Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When you lose a hero...

I received some extremely troubling news yesterday. A good friend of ours lost her soldier husband in Iraq yesterday.

These are friends we've known for over 10 years. We met them in Germany and were very close. Over the years since, our Army travels have taken us to different places, but we have stayed in close contact with them. Many good times were shared.

I don't know the details of his death - when, how, and of course we'll never know why. (If I knew, I doubt that I would post such troubling personal details.)

I haven't seen this solider in probably 4 years. But his death hit me hard.

I have to admit that I do not know anyone personally that has lost a servicemember to the war.

Not until yesterday, that is.

I don't know exactly how to handle the news. First and foremost, I wanted Jon to get the sudden urge to call me. (He's out of town this week...) I needed to hear his voice. Alas, I have no way to contact him, so I haven't been able to talk to him since I heard the news.

Then I just cried. And cried. And cried. I cried for my friend, who will have to move on without the person she loves most in the world.

I cried for her children, who love their father more than life and won't understand the reasons he gave his life for his country, at least not for many years.

And mostly I cried because I just don't understand. I mean, I'm not a fool. I know that sending our men and women in uniform to war (regardless of whether the President calls it a war) means that some of them won't come home. It's a sad reality.

But the reason that this soldier was called Home to be with God - it just doesn't compute. He was so young (35), a great officer, a personable, caring human being, and a family man. He was so funny, laughing all the time and making people feel warm and welcome.

My heart hurts today. I mean, I feel physical pain in my body. I haven't lost someone so close to me, so I don't know if that's what happens at a time like this. I feel helpless. There's nothing that I can do for my friend except to pray, and to tell her that I am here for her.

Somehow I know that's not enough. There's nothing that can make this loss easier for her.

I know she is a Christian, and that God will help her through. It won't be easy, or fast, but He will guide her. And she has a strong family that is probably already by her side.

I struggle to make sense of it, and then I realize that there is no sense. It just is.

We're not always meant to understand why things happen. We're just meant to trust that there is a reason why, and that God will guide us through the hardship that it might create.

It is a powerful lesson for me, and it brings my ridiculous job issues into focus. There are so many MUCH more important things than a job.

Now if Jon would only call, so I could hear the sound of his voice and be comforted by the person that I love the most in the world. It's selfish, in light of my friend's recent devastation, but I think it's normal to feel this way.

Please pray for my friend as she is forced to deal with what I am sure is the hardest thing she's ever had to face. Please ask God to help her navigate this territory and give her the strength she needs to get through the emotions, the Army paperwork, the sadness, the weeks of uncertainty to come.

Fallen soldier, the Heffners are thinking of you and your family today. Thank you for your selfless service to our country.

A grateful nation humbly appreciates the ultimate sacrifice you made.

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