03 January 2006

Part of My Heart Goes to Iraq

This is my brother Rob. Okay sure he is handsome and all that good stuff. He is 34 - and happily married to his wife of more years than I should probably give away. He is the guy that three awesome kids named Travis, Haley and Zachary call "Daddy". Right now, as I type this, he is probably on an airplane - destination: Iraq for his second tour of duty. I know there are so many courageous, talented, extraordinary men and women overseas - protecting and defending our many, many freedoms. They are all so very special, and as believers we should be taking them daily to our Lord - for protection, companionship when they are lonely, courage when they're afraid, inspiration when faced with challenges, strength when they feel weak and tired, and the Presence of the Almighty when they are homesick and alone.
This hits a bit close to home for me because this MY little brother. To help you understand, travel back in time with me 30 years - and see a little blonde headed boy wearing footie pajamas, standing on kitchen chairs next to his brown headed sister, very close to the same size - looking out the window at the snow, blowing their breath on the glass and drawing pictures. A few years later, imagine these same two children in elementary school, being picked up by their dad and driven to a hardware store where they would spend the afternoon in a back room while their dad moves the entire contents of their family home to an apartment that he rented in another city. Later, they sit together on a bench in a long, stoic hallway as their parents separation agreement is issued by a judge, and forever their hearts are torn by a word called divorce. All these two really had consistently for years afterwards was each other.
When we were small, I was the big sister - I was his caretaker and protector. I was the only one that understood what he wanted when he broke his leg at three years old and refused to talk. I was the one that made him use the bathroom before our attempt to run away together to our dad's when we were 7 and 8 years old. I was the one that held his hand on an airplane as we flew through a lightening storm while he cried. I was the one that he talked to when he was so confused about our parents, and life and knew I was the only one who would truly understand.
Somewhere along the way, this little boy that I love so much became and extraordinary man. When our grandparents died four days apart in 1991, he was a brand new father, and I was expecting my first child. I remember how grown up and handsome and strong he looked that day at the funeral home in his Air Force uniform. He held me up while I cried unconsolably. Tonight when I go to sleep, I will ask the Lord to protect him while he is away from us - far from family, home and country. But, I will feel a little safer because what he is doing is so important to him that he was willing to risk it all, and I know how capable he is to do his job well.
God bless you Rob! You are on my heart and in my prayers.

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