Today Lincoln brought me a picture he had colored.
Yup. That's blood.
The "good guy" is shooting the "bad guys," and the other soldier is launching missiles at a fighter pilot. (Those poor guys getting shot look sad.) Honestly, my kids don't watch violent movies. They are kind of weak sauce when it comes to scary things. Seriously. The most blood and gore they have seen was probably while watching the Chronicles of Narnia or Star Wars. My first instinct was to give him a long talking to about the sanctity of life, violence, and just everything that makes me uncomfortable with something like this.
Especially when I found out he drew it in Sunday School.
I was a little embarrassed. I don't want people to think that my son is traumatized or desensitized by trash we watch or experience. And...it really seemed odd to see the words, "I will obey God," next to some guy shooting a gun on the other side of the paper. We are not fundamentalist crazies! (Okay. We are TOTALLY crazy. But not that kinda' crazy!)
But then, I remembered who my son was. I realized where this was coming from.
I was filled with pride.
Not in the violence.
Not that we are part of a war.
But just that this is my kid. And, he's trying to process something that is VERY real to him.
Why should I tell him this is inappropriate, when in all honesty... it's reality?
War sucks. Evil sucks. Death and violence...are part of life.
So is honor. Bravery. The need for good men and women to protect the lives of the innocent.
These things are reality, too.
I know that not everyone agrees with American men and women being sent overseas. I know that a lot of people even think that the men and women who do go, do so out of faulty logic. With ill-intent. With racist, or bigoted motivation. I get it. I know that it's complicated. I know that there is no easy answer. But what I've found in the men and women who I've met is... a deep, deep calling. There is a sense that, number one: there is something wrong in the world and they want to help fix it. You may disagree with how they go about that. But, a true motive to do good; despite the risk, despite the cost, is there. And number two: they are part of a nation that protects the individual more than most any other on the planet; and they want to help preserve that.
I respect that.
And, I respect the families who learn to live in dysfunction. Because it's an infinitesimal minority that ever wanted to spend their lives apart. I respect the men and women who learn to compartmentalize; who stay in contact with their families and hear about Christmas plays and report cards one minute, and navigate the convolution and details of being at war the next. And of course, I respect the children who stay behind and try to wrap their brains around something as broad and confusing as all this. Who trust that their parents love them despite their absence. Who trust in "good vs. evil." Who even want to be part of helping take care of the forgotten people of the world. The ones who need protection.
When I finally got brave enough to ask him what obeying God had to do with soldiers and war, he looked at me timidly and said:
Well mom. They just asked us to write, "I will obey God." I colored the rest on my own.
I just want to be ready. I mean, if I had to...I would obey God. You know, if He ever called me into the Army like dad. I don't really want to. But, you know...if I had to, I would.