I think this is the busiest fall Aaron and I have ever had together! I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the opportunities in my path, but I also haven’t been fully “caught up” on my to-do lists in any sphere of responsibility since August. There has certainly been much stretching and sacrifice in this season. I expected this, and it’s a good thing. Thanksgiving break starts in 8 days and that is a very good thing, too.
One of the hardest (and best) parts of this fall has been working on some miscarriage and pregnancy loss ministry. It’s really rough to wrestle with God’s goodness in the giving and taking away of little babies I love, especially when it seems like everyone else just gets whatever they want. That isn’t true, I know; I confess this because I’m terrified by how easy it is to believe these lies.
But today I’m writing about Veteran’s Day, and I find myself wrestling with God’s goodness from the other side of things, where you face awful circumstances and still get what you want. It has been over five years since Aaron was in Fallujah, Iraq and he is, at this exact moment, home safely, married to me, able-bodied and humming the Star Wars theme song in the shower. I’m not sure which one of these things I’m most thankful for today.
And while he slept in earlier this morning, I tearfully composed text messages to dear ones certainly grieving their own beloved veterans who served and did not come home. They did nothing to deserve their sorrow. And even though Aaron is here and safe, we find life mixed up by the aftershock of war even now. There is destruction all around — though I do far prefer our circumstances over the alternative, of course — and this whole thing makes no sense to me.
…His understanding is unsearchable. -Isaiah 40.
Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind that from nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind, to war and arms I fly.
True, a new mistress now I chase, the first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace a sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such as you too shall adore;
I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more.
– “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars” by Richard Lovelace
I often read this poem while Aaron was deployed, and I love how clearly it reflects all the conversations we had about war during our preparations for that time, that this military service was a natural extension of his sense of honor, duty, and self-sacrifice. Those qualities I most loved in him demanded fulfillment in these hardships; he would be false to himself, to me, and to God otherwise. It is a rare man who would risk his own life for the sake of others, and it was true comfort to know this strength came internally, from faith demonstrated by life sacrificed. How can we consider these things and not humbly revere the greatest love of all, that Christ has laid down his own life for us?