Friday, March 17, 2006

"Chaplain, I want a weather prayer."

Lest anyone think that my post yesterday reflected any desire on my part for world-wide conflagaration, or even a lightly armed territorial squabble, I wish to make clear that I sincerely hope that peace will be given a chance for the remainder of my lifetime, as well as the remainder of the lifetime of my grandson. I will admit, as my longest-lived infantry comrades will attest, that as a youngster I itched for a fight to the point that my face could be found in the group picture next to the dictionary definition of warmongers. Not sure I could have done my job correctly (that of preparing combat teams to take the fight to our nation's enemies) if I didn't have a tendency to, as we aggressive ground-pounders put it, "lean into the fire." I like to think, not without a modicum of chagrin, that a gracious and wise Father God kept me out of combat for the reason, among others, that I might actually have been way too good at orchestrating destruction and killing. That sounds terribly, horribly, un-Christian; but there it is.

When your children start having children, however, a transformation takes place in your world view. No, I'm not changing into a liberal--that would require loss of a great deal of grey matter from the confines of my brain housing group. Having a grandchild is like getting a tranquilizer shot. The world's light (what little there is these days) has taken on a different shade with the entry of my son's son on to the stage. My wife says I'm just mellowing with age, but that is not something I want to admit to. Instead, I'm more content to give the credit to my grandson.

But, I am, if nothing else, a realist. My lifelong study of the history of man would not allow me to be anything else. Man may discover new technology and harness new resources to build new machines and edifices, but the nature that God sent with him from the garden will never change. Man may talk in ever loftier terms of the responsibility of men to live in peace with their fellow men, but even the most dedicated and disciplined peacenik has a point beyond which, when pushed, he will react with violence. Even my Lord used force to throw the money changers from the temple.

As an instrument of my nation's "politics by other means," I strived, without complete success I will admit, to be apolitical. My job was to salute smartly, shoot straight, and suffer silently. I was not allowed a public political stance, although I will admit, again, that my private political stance became a little more publicly viewable when my nation's leadership was acting according to my own jingoistic and imperialistic notions of the American place in world affairs.

I have said all of the above to say this: While we are all praying earnestly for peace, let's not forget to pray earnestly for the marksmanship of our defenders of that peace.
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