Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In memory of our God, our religion, our freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children

Following the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the country was in an uproar. It was an easy choice for many to send in the troops, invading Afghanistan. Here we are 11 years later. We’ve fought in Afghanistan. We’ve invaded another country, Iraq. We’re still fighting in Afghanistan. Of course, I say, ‘we’ like it means something more than those who are actually there. I do not believe WE are doing anything of the sort. In fact, when the United States military invaded Afghanistan, I was worried.

The Book of Mormon provides an account of a secret criminal organization and the toll their secret plans had on society. This group called themselves the Gadianton Robbers. Although they were a terrible group with designs that were contrary to the good of the civilization, efforts to eradicate them were nearly impossible. I considered al Qaeda and their friends in the Talaban to be something more akin to the Gadianton Robbers than an organized country we could bring into submission through military force.

Again, here we are 11 years later. The Talaban hasn’t been stomped out and al Qaeda isn’t gone either. We’ve wasted so much blood and money in pursuit of these and others. Now, I fear another problem - the status quo.

We, the American people, have turned our backs on our military. We placate ourselves with yellow ribbons and hallow words of support. Little comfort does this provide the families who’ve lost their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. We have become so used to these great and selfless people fighting in a far away place, against and for a people with whom we haven’t any connection that we’ll hardly give it a second thought. Two months ago, the United States military casualties in the Afghanistan fight exceeded a milestone. More than 2000 soldiers have lost their lives. It was a footnote to an otherwise normal day for those of us living in the United States.

I am reminded again of another account from the Book of Mormon: “But behold, great has been the slaughter among our people; yea, thousands have fallen by the sword, while it might have otherwise been if ye had rendered unto our armies sufficient strength and succor for them. Yea, great has been your neglect towards us.” (Alma 60:3)

Are we not too complacent in the status quo? What have we gained from their sacrifice? How many friends and family have gone into the battle only to give up the most precious possession of all?

I am going to have a hard time sitting in relative comfort Thursday afternoon without remembering all we’ve lost in our pursuit of revenge for the most atrocious foreign attack on United States soil. I worry we’ve grown far too complacent in our lives and we do little more than lip service to support the military. I am grateful for our military, our soldiers and their families. I am grateful for the sacrifices they’ve made for my family, my friends, my country and me. We need to do something more than just talk about how great these young people are. I worry that my gratitude is far too little, it's not enough.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Caring Glances

Sometimes words do not carry as much meaning as we would like them to. We want to convey our feelings, our desires, and maybe a little wisdom. However, the tools we are left to use – words – just cannot seem to fill that gap between what we want to share and what we can impart. It is interesting that sometimes a few moments of silent interaction between two humans can convey more than a thousand words and leave a deeper, longer lasting impression.

When a toddler is learning to take those first steps, seldom is eye contact with the parent lost. During these moments of excitement, a great boost is offered in the confident smiles of a loving mom or dad. Still, it is more than a mere smile; surely, the whole countenance is one of caring concern mixed parental pride. This is just one of many occasions when a child will look to the parent for an approving look.

A few years ago, the greatest man I ever knew looked at me with an approving smile and love in his eyes. I will never forget that day for as long as I live. Although it was one instant of many, it is most important because it was the last.

I am grateful for the loving care with which my parents raised me and for the moments like this one that helped me to know they did have pride in the person I had become.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let There Be No "Could've-Beens"!

I could have. That is an incredibly sad statement. Its entirety is regret. You cant say sorry and have it erased from existence. No number of words can outdo the inaction of yesterday. Our very personal haunting ghosts are conjured out of yesterdays couldve-beens.

It is for this reason, I seek to take hold of every opportunity presented me at the moment. Do what I can now for those around me so I do not remember what I should have done or could have done when it is too late.

I am grateful for the opportunities life presents, that we all have the time and energy to do and be.

It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men! If it goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death! It is doomed to wander through the world! Oh, woe is me! And witness what it cannot share but MIGHT HAVE SHARED on Earth and turned to happiness! – Jacob Marley, A Christmas Carol