My dear sister, first class petty officer, of the Navy is currently on leave, before transferring to another station on the American mainland. Indeed, I look forward to her visit. Sadly, like so many of those in the armed forces, they are emotionally if not mentally distant to a degree. Such exposure to the world puts them in a kind of experience that is alien to most people. And at times their very participation in the military power crushes what noble notions they held. Our prayers are that these souls who volunteer to, in the grand scheme of things, defend the nation from foreign destruction and despotism look up into heaven and allow the Lord Christ to crush their despair. They are introduced to raw good and evil, both often overwhelming.
It is a strain in a relationship when you were already not that close to the person in uniform. I wonder that aside from not sharing due to official secrecy and the pain of recollection, do they remain silent for fear that they will sear us with the melancholy they possess, upon learning what chills their heart? Even those more open about the days gone by on and off duty, there is a subtle pause in speech as if to omit/edit to prevent harming the listener. Exasperation can also be a reason. I quickly discovered how ignorant I am about matters active military and veterans personally know. A common statement is something along the lines of “I cannot relate to the majority of people anymore.”
Veterans Returning to Civilian Life – https://youtu.be/nJUKxmsqpz8
President Eisenhower’s (former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe – WW2) Farewell Address – January 17, 1961 – https://youtu.be/OyBNmecVtdU?t=8m41s
Still, a fair fraction choose to remain in the ranks. For pragmatic and/or noble motivation they persist. Emotions are mixed in an environment of escapism (drunkenness and fornication), boredom, pressure, peril, and culture shock. Despite all this they see the critical role they play in an ever delicate balance across the nations’ peoples. The United States forcefully restrains many from biting, while likewise keeping more order than there would be otherwise. Considering how many conflicts are in effect, the average civilian can only imagine a greater scale of violence. A small fraction of veterans remember the world wide wars. The succeeding generations of the battle hardened share the scent of fear and death, flashbacks to the moments of the ‘thousand yard stare’.
Sadly, what has taxed the spirits of countless soldiers, sailors, and airmen is the underlying corporatism and politicism that catalyzes the missions at hand. To be a pawn for the economic and diplomatic empire(s) of the United States overseas dilutes the honor of defending the strength of the American Constitution. To bear the responsibility of guardian and mercenary cultivates a deep cynicism for the world at large, laying siege to what separates right from wrong. With you soul on the line, what is there for one to do each day of moral uncertainty? When man fails inevitably, repledge your coat of arms to God. If you cannot trust military command or government authority, persevere in the power of Jesus Christ. After all, He will be the only one to heal and sustain the crushed being of a modern man at arms. Civilians should do the same, for like those in uniform, they find human ambition is a vain thing, even the good it possess made perverse.
Let us remember to pray for those who defend the nation, providing us with protection long taken for granted. Imagine a worse state of affairs in addition to the bloody horror already within our domain. The floodtides are still being withheld. The guardians bear a heavy weight, often times facing ingratitude. They learn in graphic detail how wicked mortals are, how ignorant we can be. Still, many endure the nonsense of sinful systems, hoping that some good will come of it. Indeed, may God make blessings out of what we may do for evil. I do not understand your plight, serviceman. I only know the God who does with open arms, with a light burden to carry instead.
So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well. 3 Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 To satisfy the one who recruited him, a soldier does not become entangled in the business affairs of life. 5 Similarly, an athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer ought to have the first share of the crop. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
8 [b]Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory. 11 This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
12 if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
13 If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 1-13