Yesterday, while sitting in a meeting in Colorado Springs I took a phone call from my son Jeff, who as a US Army National Guard soldier, was scheduled to be deployed for another year of duty in Iraq beginning October 15th. He's been in the process of getting things in order to leave Ashlie and two-year old Gentry. We've been working on a going away send off and have been feeling sad at his imminent departure. Jeff is one of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, the brave and courageous men and women who willfully put life and limb on the line as the physical guardians--the soldiers for our country. Jeff was / is ready to do his duty. I, as a father, admire his willful courage--courage being more than a value, but actually doing
what is right. Since he returned from Baghdad, 18 months ago, it has been our continual prayer that he would not have to go back. As a Guard member, he's already spent two and a half years in active duty.
Jeff called and asked me one question: "What's the best news I could possibly have?" Of course, with anticipation I said, "That you don't have to go to Iraq!" And when he told me I was right, tears of joy and gratitude welled up in my eyes. "Thankyou God!"
I drove up to Longmont (Liz is in Dallas leading her Leadership Community for churches with strong Recovery Ministries), and walked into see Jeff reading a story to Gentry before prayers and tucking him into bed. It's where he needs to be as a 24-year-old father and husband.
I sent a quick email to family and friends and was barraged by jubilous replys. My mom wrote back, "I can’t remember when I’ve felt so happy. I had been so sad thinking about Jeff going back there again. The first time, well, I remember you saying things like “Oh Jeff isn’t so bad off…he shares a room with another guy, etc., etc., but somehow, it’s different now, with a two-year old son, and a wonderful wife and home life that he’s gotten used to."
Jeff re-enrolled at the University of Colorado and, if he is not deployed by March (the date when he will have completed his six years of duty), he will graduate in May. So that is our prayer. The story's not over yet.
Sometimes grace trickles down from heaven. Sometimes it comes in waves. Yesterday it came in torrents. We are so grateful.