Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who ARE we?

I post a link to the video of me surprising my brother but I wanted to share a few things from that trip.

I didn't get to see him right away, I was, after all, crouched down behind a mini-van trying to re-calculate my surprise.  But after the screaming, hugging and tears were done I looked at him and barely recognized him.  First, I had never seen him look so healthy.  His skin was incredibly clear, his teeth sparkling (from no cigarettes and caffeine), and he had lost about 25 pounds.  But what struck me the most was that when I last saw him, just 10 weeks ago, he was my younger brother.  That day, he was a man.  Gone was the youth, replaced by a control and confidence I had never seen in him before.

I was so excited to see him and yet a little afraid and nervous over how to interact with this person I wasn't sure I knew.  I could tell from our phone conversations that he was in control.  His voice never wavered when I could barely make a clear thought over the tears and I could tell he was very proud and and sure of where his life was headed for the first time.  He knew that, finally, he had found what he was meant to do with his life.

What I also took for granted was the he would have a hard time interacting with us.  We had been warned that his entering the military would change him, it was inevitable.  So he recognized that we didn't know the new him either.  Coupled with the fact that he had literally been cut off from the world for 10 solid weeks, with no tv, no phone, no internet, and he was just as, if not more nervous, than us.  It finally made me understand why my stomach had been so upset for the 2 days leading up to, and even during the entire trip.

The hard part was watching him get back with this group and walk away.  It solidified that he had a world totally separate from the rest of us.  He knew, lived, experienced things that I never would.  And it took me back to a time when I was a child and so excited to see my dad who was on "leave" from the Marines... nothing beats the excitement of seeing them for the first time in months, or sometimes even years, but so closely behind that feeling is the dread that you know they have to leave again soon.  It was hard as a child with a dad I barely knew, it's agonizing as an adult with a brother who was once my best friend.

Thursday we watched him line back up, dying inside because they have a no hugging policy.
(I broke that policy... I don't care what the rules say, he was mine first)
And it hurt to see him march back with his new family.  
The rules of military and war are so different, I don't think those who benefit from them understand the cost.  
But as I learned at church this weekend.. a significant love will cost you something.  In order to love as God loved us, that he gave his life, when you have a true love that means something to you, something must be given.  If you look hard enough you will probably discover that the something you give is a little part of yourself.

Today I am Thankful for: 

All of the Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Sisters and Brothers who give a little piece of themselves when they send their family off to join the military.  And for the freedom that I take for granted far too often, because without that sacrifice who knows what kind of love we would have. 


P.S.  Who ARE we?  We figured out we're still us... just a little changed :)



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