This was also the semester after field training. Many things in my life (internal and external) have changed because of it. I feel I can more maturely discern the military path now that I’m more entrenched in it. I’ve learned this semester, what I’ve felt all along: the military is where I belong.
Sporadically I’m asked why I want to go into the military. I’ve always have had a lot of reasons for it. Until recently they were mainly selfish (good benefits, see the world, keep in shape, steady job) but now I’ve been exposed to a whole new list of why I know this is what I’m called to do. Mostly it’s been realized through my mom.
Out of all her children, I’m the most like her. We both are pretty independent, we have flexible but strong ideas, and we have to be doing something. Thinking of her over there is a really strange idea. I questioned if this was really part of the plan. But how stupid I was! God had this planned the entire time. I can go through all the different foreshowings up to where we are now, but that’s beside the point. Something has happened to her during her time in Iraq. She has seen God in a very real way. She has learned what submission really is, and also how that translates to her marriage. Although not perfectly, she has learned how to wait, how to love, how to accept. I want to grow the way she has.
The mediation from Pope Benedict XVI (in the book Benedictus) for December 6th goes really well with this theme (I‘ll just give you the whole thing):
The human being does not trust God. Tempted by the serpent, he harbors the suspicion that in the end, God takes something away from his life, that God is a rival who curtails our freedom and that we will be fully human only when we have cast him aside… The human being lives in the suspicion that God’s love creates a dependence and that he must rid himself of this dependency if he is to be fully himself. Man does not want to receive his existence and the fullness of his life from God. He himself wants to obtain from the tree of knowledge the power to shape the world, to make himself a god, raising himself to God’s level, and to overcome death and darkness with his own efforts. He does not want to rely on love that to him seems untrustworthy; he relies solely on his own knowledge since it confers power upon him. Rather than on love, he sets his sights on power, with which he desires to take his own life autonomously in hand. And in doing so, he trusts in deceit rather than in truth and thereby sinks with his life into emptiness, into death. Love is not dependence but a gift that makes us live… We live in the right way if we live in accordance with the truth of our being, and that is, in accordance with God’s will. For God’s will is not a law for the human being imposed from the outside and that constrains him, but the intrinsic measure of his nature, a measure that is engraved within him and makes him the image of God, hence, a free creature.
God, through my mother and more generally, through my experience with the military, has taught me to trust Him. Instead of questioning, I should be more inclined to accept, especially if I’m in the midst of a hardship. Instead of despairing, I should praise God! Really, everything does work out! Life is a great adventure, one that has God’s hand on it the entire way!
I’ve learned that not only does God have an awesome plan, that is being played out right now for you, but it also involves putting you exactly where (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) you need to be to experience Him and learn what you need to and grow in love for Him. Really, the military is prefect for that.
Just tonight my mom was telling me about a saying that gets thrown out a lot over there (I’m sure you’ve heard it): Let go and let God. This sentence becomes a way of life over there. You have a unique chance to really and completely trust God. I mean, what else are you going to do?
How often do we second-guess God? Do we really think and believe that what he has in store of us is THE best possible plan that could ever happen?
How much easier will this life be if we stop worrying about things we can’t change, and instead embrace each situation as the opportunity to grow closer to God. Indeed that is what every situation presents to us. How often to we pass it up? How often do we say, “not today God, I think I have it all figured out now, I’ll take it from here”?
This week, I’m striving to be like the kings, who saw the sign (the Star) and set off. Not really knowing where to go, or what may happen, they trusted. They didn’t need a long list of reasons (as I like to have) in order to be convinced. They had a childlike faith. A faith where they knew that no matter what happened, it not only would be okay, but that it would be the best thing that could happen!
God is great and so beautiful!