Woohoo! My oldest son, David has returned home from Ft. Bragg NC. The Army is starting up a whole new unit not an hour from here, so mom and dad are mighty glad. The above picture was taken just after boot-camp, circa pre 9/11. It was during his third tour of Iraq that he “re-upped” a year ago for a second four years.
He has returned to us no longer the boy he was in this picture. The patch on his arm has a few more stripes and he has lost a little of the “gung-ho” attitude he began with, but there is much more to it.
I think the women of our church put it best, “he’s all man”, they said. It hit me that they were talking about more than the handsome man he’s become at twenty-five. He wears a “quality” that comes only from being tested by fire. It is the defining moment where a boy becomes a man. He learned about self sacrifice.
Jesus defined self-sacrifice on the cross. It is the point in time when one lays down their own life for the sake of others. In fact, I contend that a man cannot even “know” in his heart of hearts that he truly loves his wife until he’s been tested in the same fire. It’s the willingness to “lay down one’s life” that graduates a boy to true manhood.
Somewhere in those three trips to Iraq, he was purified in the crucible. Good for you son, I am proud!