I have been privileged to travel this summer, and I am writing this blog from the rim of the Grand Canyon. There are no pictures that can do it justice, and as I have seen so many amazing things I have been awe filled at the magnificence of creation. I received the call from my son letting me know he was heading back to war. We spoke few words. Just info, “I’m praying over you” and goodbye. After I ended the call, all trust in my God, in my son’s training, and his continued protection went right out the window. Fear was all I felt. I looked over the edge of the canyon wall, in some places so very much like the pictures from Afghanistan both my sons have brought back with them, and for a moment cursed my son’s willingness to do what others cannot do, to be brave and good, and lead his men well. Then, reality slapped me hard, and I remembered that I raised him to be that way. <sigh>
He has a chest of medals, all earned the hard way. He has PTSD, earned the hard way. His wife, brave and good in her own right, earned my respect and admiration for how she loved my son back from the brink, not once, but twice. I am reminded of a poem by Khalil Gibran in which he wrote: “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” I have no choice but to trust him, God, and those around him to protect and guard him. He is no longer mine to protect. I can, however, listen, and stay attached. That is my role in his life now. Did he shut me out? Absolutely – for years. Eventually, he recognized my willingness to be with him, and he started opening up. When he saw love reflected back from me, it made it easier for him to reach out. So parents – stay close. Feel your fear, and put it to good use. Let it give you energy to pursue your son or daughter. Love on them. It is your role, and your privilege.
Khalil Gibran “On Children”