Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Fallen Comrade

A friend introduced me to this blog, How Can They Hear, written by Cody Whittaker, a missionary in Haiti. Cody and his wife have scene horrors of many kinds in the last many years: the shattering earthquake I watched from afar, but also a private grief of their own, as their four-year-old daughter died from cancer.

He wrote these words today, and they spoke my very heart.


~~~

The Fallen Comrade

Two men, who have grown up together as best friends, enlisted in the war together, stood together taking the pledge to serve their country at all costs, are now in the same fighting unit moving from bunker to bunker taking back enemy territory. As they move towards another bunker, amidst heavy fire, one of them is hit…and it appears to be fatal.

They reach the bunker, where the other friend is only able to hold his friend in his arms and comfort him as he dies. And that is exactly what happens. The friend that was hit says his last few words, “Don’t you worry buddy, we’re gonna win this war”, and then he dies.

The friend who is still living has but only a moment to hold his comrade’s fallen body, to weep, to scream, to cry out, but then he must let him go and move on. He must remember that he is still in a war. He must not forget that, though his comrade reached the furthest bunker that he would reach in taking back enemy territory, that he himself still had more bunkers to reach and more territory to capture. He must not forget about the pledge that he made to his country, a pledge to serve his country above ALL ELSE.

And so, he has a choice to make in that moment while in that bunker. If he stays there lamenting too long over his comrade and best friend, he will render himself ineffective in the fight. Other comrades will eventually suffer. He himself will be put in danger by remaining there because eventually the enemy will reach that bunker and overtake him. And most importantly, if he chooses to stay there in that bunker with his friend who is no longer living, rather than continue in the fight, he will be breaking the pledge that he made with his friend as they swore an oath that they would give their very all for their country.

And so, in that bunker, in those few moments, there is agony of soul that the man has never known. He doesn’t want to leave. He feels like leaving would be abandoning his best friend. But he knows that his best friend really would not be abandoned because his best friend is no longer living. But, nonetheless, he still feels that way. He hurts. He hurts more than ever. He can’t bear the thought of moving to the next bunker without his best friend there beside him. They fought together from the very beginning. And now he would have to go alone in the continuation of his fight. Sure, there are other comrades in his troop, but to him, he would feel all alone. In that moment, he feels lost. He wonders if there is really a reason for him to go on and continue fighting after he has just lost a person that meant the world to him. But deep down inside, he knows that there is still a greater purpose.

He wrestles. All within less than sixty seconds, he wrestles and agonizes. There is enemy fire still around him. The rest of the troop is saying that they need to advance to the next bunker. The war is not over. So, with great fear, yet also a strength and resolve that is beyond him, he lays his fallen friend down, picks up his rifle, and charges on. He has tears while charging, tears of both a great sadness in his heart, but also of a firm belief in the last words of his best friend. And he charges ahead saying to himself, and also to his fallen comrade who he can no longer see, “Don’t you worry buddy, we’re gonna win this war.”

And that’s my story these days. Oh how I sometimes want to stay in my lament over losing Susana. Sometimes, I don’t want to leave the bunker. The thought of going on without her scares me. But I know that there is still a battle that we are engaged in. And I, as the troop leader of my family, have other comrades that need me to lead them. I need God’s strength to do it. And God’s strength is exactly what I get. Sometimes, the thought of leaving the bunker with her behind causes me to feel like I am abandoning her. But when I feel that way, God’s grace and truth remind me of where she is. She is in the presence of the living God. She is in the best hands ever. She is not being abandoned. She is being embraced and loved more so than she ever has. But these are feelings that I am forced to wrestle with from day to day.

And so, amidst tears, both tears of sadness over missing my precious comrade as well as tears born from a great conviction of knowing the truth about our final destiny, I pick up my weapon, and I leave the bunker. I know that Susana is not left behind in that bunker. That bunker was simply her last place that she advanced to here on this earth. But she was raised from that earthly bunker and now is living at the never ending victory party. But I have more bunkers to advance to while I am here. I have made a pledge, by His grace that called me, to press on and worship Him all of my days and to share this incredible message of hope and truth with the world. And so, with tears, and with a faith that is not my own, I press on.

Don’t mistake me here. I weep still. I think about Susana every single day. My heart has pain. But, I am not crippled by any of those things. Those things, by His grace, have not rendered me ineffective. On the contrary, those things have given me a greater clarity of purpose to continue to press on. I want to run my race with a greater perseverance, for I know the incredible prize that awaits those who finish hard. And I know that my daughter is waiting for me at the finish line. I want to fight with a greater tenacity, for I know the plans of the enemy to kill and destroy. And I am more mad at sin than I have ever been because through sin this world became cursed with all kinds of pain, suffering, and disease. But I also know the vengeance that God will take upon my greatest enemy. And so I fight with a tenacity knowing that the day will certainly come when my enemy is completely defeated. And I know that the enemy wants me to be rendered ineffective by remaining too long in the bunker. I have heard of many stories personally of those who did get stuck in the bunker for too long. And they lost years. But I hear the voice of my Commander-in-Chief saying, “Press on.”

~~~

What beautiful words. So raw, so true. This genre of writing is new to me: I don't often use other people's words to convey my own, nor have I ever (and also not ever) depicted a war scene to describe my life. And yet, so many things have changed in the last several months. I am engaged in a daily battle, to stay in the game, to try again, to win. So perhaps a battle scene is truly the best metaphor. And if someone else's words portray my very heart, then thank you, Lord, for guiding me to his words.

"...If he stays there lamenting too long over his comrade and best friend, he will render himself ineffective in the fight."

"...there is agony of soul that the man has never known. He doesn’t want to leave. He feels like leaving would be abandoning his best friend. But he knows that his best friend really would not be abandoned because his best friend is no longer living. But, nonetheless, he still feels that way. He hurts. He hurts more than ever."

"...I am more mad at sin than I have ever been."

"...My heart has pain. But, I am not crippled by any of those things. Those things, by His grace, have not rendered me ineffective."

"...I, as the troop leader of my family, have other comrades that need me to lead them. I need God’s strength to do it. And God’s strength is exactly what I get."

"...And so, with tears, and with a faith that is not my own, I press on."

Robb is not left behind; he lives more fully than ever. And though my heart aches, I must lead the troops.

Now is the time to keep my oath.

9 comments:

Lori said...

I just love you Tricia....that's all I can say!

Mrs. MK said...

Heartbreaking words, but words of hope. Thank you for sharing this...it blessed me today!

thewonderfulhappens said...

that truly was beautiful writing. I can see why it spoke to exactly what you must be feeling right now.

my3boys said...

I thank God for your gift, Tricia. Your writing moves me and makes me want to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

Penny said...

Every time I come here (every time you post:), I am inspired by your courage. Every time I see your header, I am heartbroken all over again for who you and your boys are missing. Keep writing, Tricia~ hope it's helping you heal.

Vikki Embry said...

As I have my own bunker of grief to crawl out of I realize i don't crawl very long ....someone picks me up...wipes off the dirt and his name is Jesus. So amazing to hear others stories of pressing on admist the pain and loss all through the power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

Jodi said...

Beyond beautiful....

Metaphors can be the most powerful way to express so much.

Thank you for sharing this.

Terry said...

dear tricia...this post moved me so deeply, just as your post before this...i feel i have no words to say and yet as i read this, i could not help but think of the story behind the hymn "it is well with my soul",and so i looked up in google, wikipedia all about it and so i have copied and pasted it here,

"It Is Well with My Soul" is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.

This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

the last three verses here remind me so much of the fallen comrade's dear friend and of YOU tricia...love terry

"For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul."

Horatio Spafford

Penned Pebbles said...

Sometimes the most helpful words are not our words, and not even their words, but His words coming to us like gifts.