Not long ago, my husband’s best friend retired from the United States Air Force, and I cried my eyes out during the ceremony.
I can’t even explain why I cried exactly. Partly because his words to his family were so warm and appreciative, but even more than that, I couldn’t help but sense the winds of change in the air. Change and I have had a rocky relationship, which is one reason God arranged for me to fall in love with and marry a military man myself. I learned so much during the nineteen years I spent as a military wife, including the ability to adapt to the new life landscape that change brings.
Military families accept change as an act of obedience to the job they are called to do. They accept the sacrifice that comes with it for the same reason. They sacrifice familiarity. They sacrifice our loved one’s spot near the birthday cake or Thanksgiving meal. Sometimes, they even sacrifice their presence on this earth.
Our military servicemen and women are proud to serve, but they don’t think they’re more special or more important than the rest of us. In their eyes, they’re just living in obedience to the God-created rhythm of sacrifice for gain, for giving of self so others may receive. There’s no getting around it: freedom costs. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardsmen give up their freedom so you and I may be given ours. They do what must be done for what they love. For whom they love.
On this Memorial Day, may the families of our fallen feel God especially close. If that is you, may you know God bottles every tear spilled. After all, He knows the pain of losing His most cherished One. And through the heartache and loneliness and days chock full of crazy, may you know God walks smack dab next to you. He sees the work you do, and it’s important, valued, and wildly appreciated.
And so are you.