I’m a third of the way through this deployment and you can see the fatigue starting to set in. Everywhere I look guys are beat down. I’ve been told that deployment adds a good 5 years to you, and I can understand why. Most guys out here work about 16-20 hours a day and get sleep in spurts. If you get a good 6 hours of sleep at one time you’re one of the lucky ones. It continues to amaze me how resilient these guys are in spite of all the setbacks they face daily. One group of guys built a deck of sorts with a small center-block burn pit in the middle. They spend their off hours (the few they get) burning the wood from broken crates, playing the guitar and singing karaoke. Anything to forget you’re in Afghanistan for a few hours is a good thing.
I think the favorite past time of most of us out here is dreaming about what we are all going to do the first day we get back home. Granted I’m with Marines and most of them default to “drink myself stupid” but a few appreciate the finer things in life – like pizza.
This past time is the springboard for my next soapbox. It goes something like this….
We are called strangers in a strange land, very similar to Marines in a warzone. The world around us is hostile and we know that one day our sojourn on this earth will end. So that begs the question: Is Heaven as real for you as the Homecoming these Marines are dreaming of – or – are you simply making do? I think we simply make do far more then we should.
This life should not satisfy – we were not created for it. We were created for more. It is far too easy to build a campfire and spend your days playing the guitar and forgetting for a moment that life is brutal. But don’t for a second think that this form of escapism is enough for these Marines. They long for more – They want home so bad it is the object of every conversation, every other thought, every unspoken word is saturated with a sickness that can only be cured the day they arrive home.
Are you escaping/ignoring life, not really long for something else but simply trying to dull the pain? The hard truth is the pain can never be dulled by ignoring it. But what if I could promise you more, something else far better, far more glorious then this desert, this Afghanistan you find yourself in. What if I could promise you the ability to go home.
I can’t but HE did. Christ died, and rose, to destroy the power of sin and usher us into the home that He has, and is preparing for us. A far better country, one truly flowing with abundance and filled with the presence of God.
I love the line at the end of Tolkien’s trilogy
“And the grey clouds turn all the silver glass, and beyond he saw a far green country”
It speaks to the heart of the matter and explains why in the midst of the desert I walk in Joy. There awaits for me and all who call HIM Lord, a far green country.