Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Was it worth it?

Up to this point I've only allowed myself to feel the surface feelings. The shock and horror as I've watched the news show the fall of Afghanistan. 
But now I'm crying. I stopped and reached out to a friend. A veteran of the military. Someone who I sat with on the lawn of the Navy Training Center in Chicago on September 11, 2001 and the days following. My missionary companions and I were the only civilians allowed on to the base that day. It was a miracle. The first of many. Earlier we had walked the sidewalks of the base and God had literally led us to the location of each of our Sailors. We knew that all of their lives had just changed forever. So had ours. They were now facing war. Some of them would eventually change to a different branch of the military and be sent to the front of the action. That was only the first day.
I've lost touch with almost all of the hundreds of Sailors I knew and loved deeply. It's been 20 years since then.
Over those years on occasion I've been overwhelmed with the question of who may not have made it through the combat. And it was heart wrenching to wonder. Even worse was watching those I still know; come back broken and in so much pain. The pain of losing their buddies being the hardest of their pain. 
And now to watch these events. And have to confront the feeling again of the darkest of questions; was it worth the sacrifice?
I sit here and ask myself. Dig really deep. Trying to find the spiritual wisdom inside me. 
Yes. If I think back and picture each face of my sailors. And remember the feeling of honor, courage, and commitment (sorry for the cliche, guys) that they each radiated during those early days. I have to believe that they as individuals were ready and willing to make the sacrifice. ... but the pain that was left behind in their place. ... was it worth it? With this question, I can only do one thing. Fall back on my belief that some rewards aren't felt until after this life. I have to lean on the hope that comes in my faith in God. That He will judge our actions and choices here on earth, against our circumstances. And theirs against the sacrifice they made for their fellow men and women. And I believe their reward will be magnificent. 
But how do we face the future sacrifices, knowing that 20 years down the road they may be erased. My answer, The One. When I talk to my boys tonight about what's happening. I am going to teach them about the principle of "The One." When we go forth to serve, we must follow our Savior's example and focus on the one person we can serve. And do this again, and again, and again, as we serve. Because during this life on earth, there is a beginning and an end. And as we're seeing with Afghanistan, the end is not always pretty or validating. But if we focus on The One; the individuals who were protected and freed during the 20 years, then we can fathom the possibility that all the sacrifice was in deed worth it.

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