One of my good friends is going off to Iraq tomorrow morning.. early. Tonight was our one last hurrah before he ships out. So a bunch of friends and I went and shot some pool and had a few beer and a lot of laughs.
To be honest, I haven't seen this particular friend in quite a long time. It may have been six months since we last hung out. But we can always pick up where we left off. He has a really hard life, full of really difficult situations. And he is not the type of person that will ask for help. Since after high school he has been moving around from place to place, and I just see him when I can. But he is still like a brother to me.
Tonight, watching his last few hours with spent with the sweetest girl he has ever dated, and saying goodbye to his four month old daughter... it was heartbreaking.
It is made even harder by my own personal views on the war which I will set aside here for respect to all of our brave soldiers. My views on those who serve the country is not in any way tainted by the wars that we fight. But it doesn't make it any easier to send him off to Iraq.
He is a chaplains assistant. He won't leave base. He is basically a body guard who does paper work. He won't likely be in any line of fire, and will probably not die or be injured. This says nothing about emotional trauma. He is being sent into war. As a chaplains assistant he WILL deal with messy situations, he WILL see death, he WILL be affected. I worry about his mental well being. As I said, he has a lot of really messed up situations to deal with already here at home, he does not need his life to become emotionally harder. He needs to stay healthy for his daughter. This is what I worry about.
My heart truly goes out to him and his girlfriend and his daughter. I pray that he will remain the same good man that we all know and love, and only grow for the better. I pray that he will not be harmed. And I also pray that he will remember those who love him, and hold that comfort with him in midst of war.
Another thing that broke my heart today was learning that Jonathan's 15 year old niece has cancer. I'm not sure yet how exactly he is taking it, but I know that we are both a little bit in shock at how young she is. She is just too young to have cancer. We don't know all the details yet, and won't find out until after she goes to a clinic on Monday. We can only pray for God to make the best of this situation.
My heart goes out to these people in need of comfort right now. They need more comfort than any one person can give them. They need the strength of God and the love of a community. And I will pray for both. Please do the same.