Marching to Cadences

I went to watch my nephew sing in a VBS play last night. Afterwards I saw my mother-in-law and she inquired as to Frank’s whereabouts. I informed her that he was called away early for training and was not able to see the performance. I’m not sure how the conversation began, but after shooting the breeze of random topics, my friends and her started discussing sports. I mentioned that Frank and I don’t really watch sports but that I find hockey somewhat entertaining. I don’t feel like baseball has much contact or interaction between players. Hockey has guys slamming into the glass, chasing the puck, and hitting each other and the black disc with sticks. My mother-in-law asked why I’m okay watching a sport like that but I’m not okay with infantry. Well, there are many grave differences.

One difference in fact being the grave. In hockey there are penalties for intentionally causing brutality to another player. In war, as many rules as we might have against it, there are individuals (yes, even on the American side) who hate the “enemy” and kill. Sometimes these individuals never receive repercussions because some missions are so secret the American populace never knows about them and never will (same goes for other nations). Most contact sports also have opposing sides shake hands after a game. War just sees broken soldiers crawling along the blood-stained soil of their comrades and “foes”. Before sports begin the anthem is typically sung, an anthem that speaks of unity and brotherhood. Many military units have cadences that speak of attack, wringing out the veins of the opposition, and the glorious sweat of victory.

What these cadences don’t reflect enough of is that the sweat is usually salted tears on the brow of burdened soldiers. Men who have been to battle are never the same. When our soldiers are carrying packs across paved paths they can rally cries of hate and winning, but when they have been in the trenches and return they shudder at the remembrance of bodies bombed into oblivion. Non-combative units can banter about the fun in killing for sport, but when you actually witness bullets pummeling human flesh there really isn’t any victor, a good side or bad. All battles spring from thinking one side is right and the other side is oppressing. That pride is always bad and shredded flesh, no matter what color it is, bleeds the same and should always forge a tear among observers. There shouldn’t be serenades that boast of puncturing another body and soul.

So while I know that war is sometimes inevitable, and in fact Jesus will return with a bloody bath against Satan, I shake my head in sorrow when someone wants a job that is specifically for the killing of human targets without a hesitation. I’m saddened when a march is led by happy shouts of murdering. I’m disheartened when t-shirts print images of skeletons smiling and holding the ID chains of a soldier.

Why does our society rejoice in defense even though it could lead to death, both on the home front and for those abroad? Why do we find entertainment in the slaughter of those who disagree? Why do we seem to more vehemently oppose films with sexual content than violence? Then again if I truly ask myself all this I guess my mother-in-law has a point…why do we watch sports that entertain through beatings? So while I said I didn’t mind watching hockey, anyone that knows me understands that I truly prefer not to engage in or watch sports at all that encourages opposition and brutality rather than unity. Also, if I do watch or play such a sport (in the rare occurrence it does happen) I see that a sport doesn’t usually lead to death and sleepless survivors. Survivors, who when they nod off to slumber are shaken awake from the tremors of war’s harsh realities and the haunting of burning brethren.

I guess that though while I’m a proud Army wife I am also a bit of a pacifist. (I’m a paradox at times, I guess.) I want to instill the same regard for life in my children that I’ve learned to have. I don’t want them to see Christ as a Savior only for the white man. (Listen to one of my favorite and first songs I heard from Gungor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WybvhRu9KU (God is not a White Man).) I want my children to see Jesus as a Savior for the whole world and that love will conquer far more effectively (in the end) than judgment, bullying, and bullets. I don’t want my husband to enter into battle without a reverence for all of humanity, not just men in checkered patterns. I want Frank to be reserved when firing a gun and preferably never have to use it. I want him to use his hands for repairing objects, his voice for helping heal souls, and his mind to pray that wars would cease. I want our children to see that though their father is a man in uniform, he doesn’t use it to boast about anything but Christ. I pray they’ll see him reach an often non-evangelized group because he “blends” in with the other soldiers. May our children observe a compassionate heart of a uniformed man that refuses to raise his voice with the multitude of men and women gleefully chanting the ruin of supposed enemies. I pray we’d be a family that shares Christ with all, not just with the ivory-tinted folks. I pray, and I hope Frank will to, that we’d be an Army family that marches to a different song and through love would show the world that Jesus offers salvation to ANYONE who would believe in him. I also pray that Frank will really start to understand my reservations towards the infantry band. (That MOS tends to more frequently and pridefully pounce at the chance to sing about obliterating an “enemy”.)

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