Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Letters To Iraq
In the summer of 2004, my husband shipped out for military training in Texas. After a few months he went to Louisiana. We were blessed to have him home in November for about fifteen days on leave. Right after Thanksgiving he went to Iraq to serve his country in the war. One woman played a role in his life that to this day still amazes me.
We had been attending the church out in the valley for about four years. I had worked for two years on the parish counsel, the boys went to religious education, and we attended some of the social functions. However, me being a wall flower, I didn’t know many people unless they had kids our children’s age. My life with Jerry gone was chaos. I continuously felt guilty for not sending Jerry letters weekly if not daily on how the kids were doing. I did manage to slip an e-mail note to him while at work, but he only received a letter about once a month.
One day after church, a woman stopped me at my vehicle as I was leaving. I recognized her. Every Sunday she sat in the second row next to a couple of other women her age. We always said hello, but I didn’t know her name. She went on to tell me that every week she sent Jerry letters. She wrote about seeing us at church and how the kids were growing. She sent different newspaper clippings to keep him informed of things happening in Helena.
Relief washed over me. He was getting letters from home. I thanked her profusely and told her that now I wouldn’t have to worry as much about him receiving enough letters from home. She wasn’t just helping Jerry; she was helping me as well. I went straight home and looked her name up in the church directory. The next time Jerry called we talked about the letters. He did appreciate them. The best part is with every letter she sent, I know she prayed for his safety. Knowing her, she prayed for all of us on the home front as well.
Since Jerry came home, I have gotten to know her better. She has a son about the same age as me and she has a couple grandchildren. She is in charge of the Eucharistic schedule for all the Masses and she runs the 10:30 Mass in making sure we are all set for the ministry. I am blessed to say she is one of my church moms. I get hugs from her and we chat about life. Most of all she has shown me selfless service (a military buzz phrase). When she heard one of her fellow parishioners was being deployed, she didn’t ask how it would affect her. She also didn’t pray for a day and move on with life since she didn’t really know the young man. Instead she asked how it would affect him and what could she do for him. Then she did it. She is definitely a great example of making a successful journey to holiness.
Blessings to you all.