How a church community offered love and support when a son enlisted.
Posted in , Oct 30, 2017
In my 50-plus years of life, I’d like to think I’ve become something of an expert on families. I grew up in a family, started a family of my own, and have been part of numerous extended and church families. But nothing in my experience could have prepared me for the sense of care and belonging that came with our son’s enlistment in the military.
No, I’m not speaking specifically about being a part of the military community. We don’t live anywhere near a base or have any ties that would have facilitated that. Instead, my experience was a direct result of our local faith community.
I love our local church, and we’d been members here since our boys were young. But when our oldest chose a path that didn’t lead him to college, but instead into the military, I was shocked by the outpouring of love and support our family received.
It began when he announced his enlistment. Then, on the Sunday before he reported to boot camp, the pastor called him down front and recognized him for his commitment and service.
We continued to feel the support as our church family rallied around our son and covered him in prayer and inundated boot camp letters. When he graduated and came home on his first leave, he received a standing ovation in church.
But it wasn’t only our church family who reached out to him—and to us. One particular Sunday he was home visiting and wore his uniform to church. Afterwards we went to lunch at a small local diner. Throughout the meal, one person after another stopped by our table to thank our son for his service. Then when we went to pay, the check had been covered by someone anonymously.
We received the same support during his two deployments and throughout his entire time in the military. Just like family, there was always someone there to show love, support and encouragement.
These small individual acts of support may seem tiny, but in truth they’re gigantic. They demonstrate—more loudly than words—the care and support of what it means to be a family.