Dealing with the truth is not easy but in some cases dealing with the past is even harder. We are the choices we make. However, sometimes this is not true when the choices are made for us, especially when we are powerless.
JUST PLAIN SCARED: CONVERSATIONS WITH EMILY (19)
“Emily” has some past experiences none of us would welcome. As a child, then youth, then college coed, she was taken advantage of, misunderstood, sexually abused, unhappy, and used. All of this ‘stuff’ caused a numbing in her, and it was hidden from her Christian family (her father is a pastor). Truly, it is difficult to overcome or even face such things. Her words, “I’d already experienced sexual abuse in two separate situations; first in elementary school for 3 yrs and again in 7th grade. Sex has only been either in abuse or what I used to numb the abuse.”
We are not a military family but it was fast becoming our new reality. Here we were sitting around my folks’ dining room table discussing what we had come to know about the ins and outs of military life. The recent months had initiated our three families. We talked about it all: Boot camp and its demands; the rigors of training; the writing and receiving of letters; a shared desire to support our sons; the current world situation; and our concerns for future and potential wartime maneuvers.
My two sisters and I had entered a new world. Each of us had launched a son into military service that year of 2012. Our three sons now represented the United States, one as a Navy Aviation Machinist, another as an Army Ranger, and the third as an Army Officer. My son-in-law, with many years in the Air Force, rounded out our family’s military presence. With our sons now entering the fray, we felt uncertainty and concern, and unvoiced fear. We also felt pride and assurance. Our sons were the type to go the distance.
Earlier in the year, my son at age twenty-nine, college graduate and hard worker, had announced to me his intention to enlist. He expected me to buck it, to question his thinking, and to make argument. Instead, I remembered back to a decade before, when I had discouraged him from enlisting soon after his high school graduation. This time I kept quiet and kept my own counsel. I feared that the tender heart which I knew was part of my son’s persona would not be a good fit for military life. Now he was a man, responsible, strong and caring—but it was no less hard. He toned, jogged, and ran, ate healthy, made good choices, and reduced calories; mentally, physically, and intellectually prepared. He knew it would take intentional determination on his part.
We, at times, wonder where God is at. We wonder why he hasn’t intervened. We wonder about ourselves. We wonder where we have fallen short, where we have failed, if we’ve been heading a wrong direction or wasting time pursuing a dream. It is confusing at best.
I went to a high school graduation tonight. It was a celebration for the students graduating. That part was wonderful. But it was also a sad day because, most likely, this is the school’s final class of graduates. Unless God intervenes, the school will be closing its doors permanently in the next few weeks. It is a private Christian high school. Originally it served 7th-12th grades. For the past four years many folks, most of them parents, have been trying to save the school. Some risked a lot to try to bring the school back to life, to resuscitate it when it seemed to be on the countdown to life-support. For the past two years, four teachers and a principal have served with little or no pay because they believed in its mission. Because of declining enrollment, some stepped aside and some moved on though they wanted to stay. When things are heading south, people start bailing. It was this way for the school. Prayer has been ongoing. Many didn’t want to let it go. They believed in the school. The problem is, you have to have students to have a school. And families in the area were no longer supporting the effort.
It makes me sad. I remember back when the school was started by a handful of parents some twenty-four years ago. It was started on prayer and a need. All five of my children attended the school for junior high and my youngest, for five years. We scraped money together to afford it.
By this stage in our private communications, Emily and I are enjoying our growing friendship. It has become something we both appreciate in different ways. For Emily, the new year is starting with her participating in a Daniel Fast, which is a way to cleanse the body of impurities.
JUST PLAIN SCARED: CONVERSATIONS WITH EMILY (18)
This is my first time to hear the term Daniel Fast. It has my attention! Also, this session has a new area of honesty to it. I share a personal concern, which, by the way, is difficult for me to put out there on my blog. But fair is fair. I’ve put her stuff out there, so I should too.