“We know God doesn’t reject an innocent person . . . And so, he will make you happy and give you something to smile about” (Job 8:20a,21 CEV).
All the way to the airport, my mind tried to find the right words. My soldier is about to get on a plane that will eventually lead him to the battlefront. What should I say? How will I not fall to pieces? I just want to grab him and cling to him and not let go. I want to say the right words. The perfect words. I fight back tears and try to take part in the family small talk, while I continue my silent struggle to form the exact phrasing in my mind.
At the airport, we go through the checkpoints and people shake my soldier’s hand and smile. The airline staff is helpful. They even move him past the lines of other travelers. His new wife is thrilled to find out that because he is in uniform, she is allowed to accompany him to the gate. Eventually, the dreaded time comes for our final good-byes, hugs, kisses, and the words.
With my carefully prepared speech on the tip of my tongue, I hug my soldier, and then straighten his uniform, bravely fighting tears. I finally muster up my voice, squeaky and forced. But the perfect words have evaporated. Tears rolling down my cheeks, I look up into my only son’s beautiful steel blue eyes. Taking his face in my hands, I chokingly whisper the words. They don’t come out of my mouth the same as they were formed in my brain.
“You can’t die, you know. Don’t die!”
A moment of silence, and then . . .
He LAUGHS at me.
Thank You, Lord, for the sense of humor that my soldier has. That quick wit makes even agonizing moments bearable. Help me to be able to laugh at myself and find humor even in tense situations, for laughter soothes the frayed nerves within me.