The words of a commander ring in his ears, "Look around you....one out of four of you won't be coming back!" He glances around the room at the eager new recruits. There's the guy with the new bride and the one with 6 kids. He thinks of his own family and thinks, "I can't be that one!"
"Dear Lord, Be with me as I go to work today. I need Your strength and Your power to overcome temptation, to be the Christian, husband and father I need to be." Heading out the door, he kisses his wife goodbye. Another day at the office...
He checks his gun, his uniform. All seems to be in order. Not that he expects anything to happen really. It's been peaceful lately. But a good soldier is always ready...always on guard. He relaxes, then tenses as the bullet comes from out of nowhere!
"Morning!" A coworker greets him.
"Morning! Weather's decent."
"Yeah... Hey, you gotta see this!"
Preoccupied with setting up his desk for the day, he glances absently at the magazine thrust in front of him. Quickly, he diverts his gaze. "No thanks, man. I'm not interested."
A snicker comes from the other man, but he shrugs and puts the magazine away. "Whatever!"
The morning has been busy with drills and protocol....the usual stuff. Other than the stray friendly fire this morning, he hasn't seen any danger. He wanders over to get something to eat. Just as he enters the mess hall, he hears an explosion. Rushing back to the doorway, he peers out cautiously. There, where he walked just seconds before, the ground lays open from the explosive..
"Hey, I'm running out to get lunch. Want to join me?"
He looks up from his desk to see the woman from the next cubicle standing in front of him.
"No, no, that's o.k. I brought my lunch with me today."
She smirks. "You always have some excuse, don't you? You think I bite or something?"
He shakes his head. "I'm fine to eat lunch here....with everyone else."
He's on patrol....looking for suspicious activity. He yawns and looks at his watch. Just a little longer and someone will relieve him. There ahead he sees a civilian woman, stumbling in the road as if she's hurt. He turns toward her but keeps a safe distance. He's been warned about these innocent-looking women and children carrying bombs on their person.
He looks up at the clock on the wall by his desk. Just about time to wrap up and go home. He clears his desk and starts to gather a few things to take home with him. A knock at his door causes him to look up with his briefcase half packed. There is the new girl. She glances around hesitantly and he sees traces of tears in her eyes.
"One of the girls said you have a pretty good marriage. Do you mind if I ask you a question? I need a little advice. Things aren't going well at home right now." Her lip quivers a bit as she looks at the floor.
"I'm sorry things aren't going well for you, but I don't really have any advice to give. Do you have a pastor by any chance that could give you some counseling?"
"Oh, I'm not a very religious person."
He grabs a piece of paper from his desk and jots his pastor's number down. "I'm sure my pastor and his wife would be willing to help you out whether you're religious or not. Feel free to give them a call. They're great people."
She looks startled but takes the paper. "Uh, thanks. Sure. Well, I gotta go."
It's growing dark now. Soldiers are readying for bed. He heads toward his own bunk, enjoying the quiet of the night, when all of a sudden, impact knocks him to the ground. "I've been shot!" is the first thought that races through his mind. Then, he remembers his vow to himself, "I can't be that one!" He lays quietly for a moment and realizes that his bullet-proof vest he'd so carefully put on this morning proved to be his salvation once again.
Thoughts of home rush through his mind as he eases his car onto the busy street running that direction. Rush hour traffic, again. He sighs and slows to a stop. His gaze travels to the equally busy sidewalk next to his car. A woman passes just a few feet from his car. She is attractive and is dressed as if she knows it. Immediately, he turns his gaze back toward the car in front of him as a verse from his morning Bible reading comes back to his mind.
He's back from the fighting, flying into the airport. Soon he will be sleeping in his own bed, eating food prepared by his own wife and cuddling his children again. He purposed that he didn't want to be the one who didn't return. Now here he is...safe and sound. He gathers his luggage and heads across the crowded airport and sees them. Civilians. People who have no clue the agony he has been through and the close calls he has seen--all for them. For their freedom and for his love of his country. Is it worth the battle? Worth the sacrifice? Does anyone even care?
He heads up the steps to his front door, eager to be home. Eager to see his wife and family after a long day of work. He opens the door and steps over a pile of toys and walks to the kitchen. His wife stands at one side of the room with her back to him. "Hi, honey! I'm home." She doesn't turn. "You're late....again." His disappointment goes unnoticed since she still refuses to turn to greet him. "I'm sorry. I got stuck in rush hour traffic. But I'm home now. Something sure smells good." She turns then. "Yeah...it was good. We already ate. Decided not to wait anymore. There should be a plate left in the fridge."
"Uh, yeah. Sure. Thanks!" He heads to the fridge, thinks of his day, looks at his wife.
Does she even care?