Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Soldier's View on the way to Iraq

May 6, 2007 (published in the May 23, 2007 edition of "the bullseye")

We had the opportunity to experience a “view” recently by email, through the eyes of 1st Lt. Brad Shultz who is currently on his way to Iraq. He expressed himself so eloquently that I really wanted to share it with others – so I asked his permission to share it. Our family has known Brad since he was a boy, and we have always been impressed with him. It’s a comfort to know that such quality young men and women are committed to our country, serving faithfully in the military, even anxiously awaiting the chance to go and serve in Iraq.

I haven't been too homesick yet; it is hard to be homesick when you are really excited to be going somewhere new. I got to stop in Guam for a couple of days and I will be in Singapore this week. I am really excited to get to go to Iraq later in the deployment. I have been trying to get out there since I moved out to California [Camp Pendleton] almost two years ago.

I did start missing the sun since I rarely make it up to the flight deck, but the past week I have spent several evenings out watching the sunsets in the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. It was awesome to…watch in wonder as we sailed past beautiful tropical islands in the Philippines that were still, for the most part, untouched by human hands…beautiful white sand beaches with trees and fauna of every imaginable type. We even passed one island that had a perfectly shaped volcano on it. I can't imagine the depth of God's beauty when everything I see out here is only a shadow of his glory. I look out at the scenes that surround me and I am amazed at the glory of God…An attempt to explain them would ruin the shear beauty and amazement to be had by simply gazing and being awed. So it is that as I have seen many beautiful new things on this trip so far, I have really been meditating in my heart on the beauty of the Creator. It seems as though sometimes we get so lost in the woods, unable to see the forest because we have been so preoccupied with dodging and stepping over the trees that block out path that we lose track of the purpose behind creation. Indeed sometimes we are so busy and worried about the things of this world that do not matter that we take our eyes off the Creator and place them on things that are far less deserving of our attention. If we do look at the beauty that surrounds us every day we have a tendency to enjoy the glimpse of majesty before us without thinking about the greater majesty that is unseen behind it. We live in a world that is prone to over analyze the planet we live on and try to explain it; some even try to explain it as being apart from God.

As George MacDonald put it in his Unspoken Sermons: "In what belongs to the deeper meanings of nature and her mediation between us and God, the appearances of nature are the truths of nature, far deeper than any scientific discoveries in and concerning them. The show of things is that for which God cares most, for their show is the face of far deeper things than they...It is through their show, not through their analysis, that we enter into their deepest truths…To know a primrose is a higher thing than to know all the botany of it -- just as to know Christ is infinitely higher thing than to know all theology, all that is said about His person, or babbled about His work…Nature as well exists primarily for her face, her look, her appeals to the heart and the imagination, her simple service to human need, and not for the secrets to be discovered in her and turned to man's further use."

In closing, no matter what your opinion is about the war in Iraq, let’s not forget the upstanding individuals who are serving there. In a way, they are carrying out a portion of Brad’s George MacDonald quote, in performing “simple service to human need”, and we who are comfortably and affluently enjoying the benefits of freedom, should remember to pray for their success and their safe return.

No comments: