Imagine if you will, an image frozen in time. The smiling face peers at you from the other side. It is a photo of a close friend that has no album or a protective sleeve but is tucked between the pages of an album. In the photo your friend is taking a short rest, his uniform blends in with the sandy arid land surrounding him. Though he is resting and a smile is on his face, his weapon is ever at the ready.
I have a good friend who is serving in Iraq. It amazes me that no matter what he sees or experiences; he always has a smile available and an encouraging word. I respect this man. He is an example of integrity, honor and dignity. He starts each day making the choice to serve in order to insure my freedom stays intact. He is also not afraid to share with me his thoughts, concerns and needs in spirit. He is a man of faith. He is there for me if I need him to pray about something and also there for me if I just need to get something off my chest.
He cherishes my friendship and thanks me often for being there for him in spirit and prayer. He knows that I pray for him daily and that knowledge helps him day by day as he goes on patrol or focuses on whatever task he may have for the day.
I try to imagine what it must be like for him in a dry and arid land with only sparse vegetation dotting the landscape. Demolished buildings and burned vehicles also decorate the land where he resides, so far away from his son and his family.
Encouraging as he may be, he has days where he is in need of encouragement. He told me once early in our friendship, that he had given up on hope or the future.
There are those that don’t get letters or support from their families. That’s how is for my friend, if it weren’t for the contact he has with his teenage son he wouldn’t have anyone. He said that my words of thanks for his service and my encouragement to stay focused on the task at hand and to stay safe, let him know that people do care about what he and the men he serves with is doing. He told me that because of the small step of generosity I took, he no longer is in that dark place he was in.
Do you know someone serving for your freedom? If so, do you lift him or her up with encouragement and support what they are doing? It means so very much to them. It could make a difference in how they face each day. Remember, if we didn’t have those who volunteer to serve and ensure our freedom, we would not have the freedom we enjoy.
I believe it is vital that we let those who serve know they are not alone.
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