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Service and Sacrifice

This morning, we met some superheroes at the playground. They were dressed very much like you and me. Their two kids were about the same age as ours. The oldest boy came to swing next to our oldest, chubby legs poking through. His grandparents push him up high and higher, soaring in the air, and he laughed. We started a conversation in the sunlight. His grandfather had mentioned his son’s family being stationed at an army base not far away, back when the flood soaked much of the land we were playing on now.

I asked if his family was still stationed there, assuming he was speaking of the little boy’s parents who were nearby pushing their youngest, snug in an infant stroller, down the tree lined walkway. The grandfather proudly said their son and his family are now in the eastern part of the state, and they are back in school, using the GI BILL.

He explained that the boy’s parents we saw today were in the Air Force. He described how difficult it was for the boy’s mom (his daughter) to be deployed for two months when her firstborn was only ten months old. He said how she missed his first steps, how it nearly broke her. I watched her in the distance, pushing her youngest in a stroller, alongside her husband. She was smiling and happy, and home. I felt joy. I felt gratitude, thanksgiving to God for bringing her home, for protecting this family. They joined us at the swing set, and we had some small talk, but I knew there was something big to say – thank you.

So I stood there, with my husband and our sons and she with hers, and on this Memorial Day weekend, I got to say “thank you.” I told her we had prayed for them, even though not by name, but God knew them. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice… missed hugs goodnight, missed laughter and tears to dry and first steps. Sacrifice.

These parents did not know what to say, but they smiled humbly, with heads nodded. I am glad their son was watching. Watching his superheroes and ours.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

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