When a deployed son goes missing, faith helps steady a family's fears.
Posted in , Dec 18, 2017
This time of year is punctuated with glittering lights and memory-inducing aromas. One of my favorite scents comes from the evergreen branches surrounding us. Whether they’re attached to my sister’s Christmas tree—where we traditionally gather Christmas day—or surrounding me on a winter’s hike, the smell brings a whiff of peace to my soul.
Besides the smell, the beauty of these evergreen trees inspires me. Hot, cold, wet, dry—these conifers remain steadfast. They are the first trees to recover after a natural catastrophe, like fire or flood, and the last to die. We can learn a lot from the examples set by these majestic monuments.
They also remind me of the steadfast faith I see in the military families around me. Strong faith is foundational for those with loved ones in the military.
I remember a call years ago from a fellow Marine Corps mom. Her son served in a different unit from mine, and she’d gotten a notification that we all fear. Her son’s patrol was overdue and out of contact with the base. A search and rescue had been organized, but they didn’t have anything else to report.
Even though we were miles apart, I spent hours on the phone with her. We prayed and talked. Even though we knew no one had more accurate information that what she’d been given, we broke our number one rule and combed the internet and media for any word about fighting in the area where he was stationed.
Mostly I let her talk. As she shared stories about her son, I observed how strong she stayed. She kept returning to the promises of God she’d written out and underlined in her Bible. Her inner core of strength remained intact even though there were times during the course of that long night when she worried and wept. And the presence of her faith inspired me.
Just like the evergreen trees I love, she came through the fire of that time intact. Her son’s unit was found. They’d been hit by a roadside bomb, but none were seriously injured.
Each of us faces uncertain times when life turns hot or cold or wet or dry. We face devastating news and fires of the heart. Our own faith can be strong and evergreen like that of my friend, giving off a sweet aroma, a reassuring presence to everyone we meet.
“Thank you for the great support you give to our Veterans at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC with the booklets you provide. “ --C. Garland Vance