I never think much about war. I try to focus on peace. I often think about the men and women that fight the wars and even pray for their safety, but I don't watch much T.V. coverage or read many magazine or newspaper articles on the wars. I figured my being pulled into fear or anger would not create peace, so my war-related thoughts were limited.
Last week, however, war became personal. I learned my son, Alan, will be leaving for Afghanistan in three weeks. He recently graduated from basic training and was told he would be spending the next six months in training in a nice safe place, Fort Drum, NY. Shortly after showing up for duty he learned the Army changed his orders and he began the process to prepare for deployment in July.
In first hearing the news, I noticed a sudden quick squirt of fear enter my mind. I wanted to protest and tell the Army that it's not fair to change plans like that without notice. I wanted Alan to have more time to prepare and learn everything he could about his specialty as a combat engineer (defusing bombs and land mines).
The next day while on a beautiful drive in my car, I felt a wave of peaceful acceptance wash over me. I began to focus on trusting all will be well and that Alan will be able to handle himself in whatever situation comes his way. I began to focus on the exciting adventures he will have and the relationships he will make with the others that will be in his unit. I focused on the learning he will receive in his training and how he will grow as a person. I focused on how Alan will rise to every occasion no matter how challenging, and how he has always desired to keep others safe.
Although war suddenly became personal, I do not plan on increasing my exposure to news reports. I will continue to pray for safe return for all of the service men and women. What's different now is my son will be part of that prayer.