A Coke and a Smile (and a prayer wouldn't hurt either) ...
Last week, as one of Savannah’s homework assignments, she wrote letters to veterans to be given to them on Veterans Day. One of my favorite things was that she signed the letters … “Love, (your new best friend) Savannah.
And I was thinking that those words would surely make a soldier smile. Everybody wants a best friend and knowing that a little girl a long way away thinks you are “best friend” worthy seems like it would be pretty cool. (If you’d like to send your own card, go to www.letssaythanks.com and in about 30 seconds you can send a card to someone in the armed forces!)
Last week I met a soldier who needed, if not a best friend, at least a friend. When I flew to Little Rock last Thursday, I had a layover in Dallas. During my layover I watched on CNN as the horror from Fort Hood emerged. Soldiers whose lives were horrifically taken by another soldier. Soldiers who thought the enemy was on another continent.
And seated beside me was a 19 year old soldier who was deploying to Afghanistan for her second time. This time she had to leave her four month old daughter, Destiny. She was heartbroken .. and to be quite honest, angry. She didn’t want to go again although she knew she had signed up voluntarily.
I didn’t know what else to do but to cry with her about leaving her daughter Destiny. I thanked her for her service and told her I’d pray for her as we got on our separate flights.
It is no secret that I hate war. I don’t understand retaliating against killing with more killing but I know it’s how things work in this world. I also know people a lot smarter than me with a lot more military intelligence than me say we need to continue to fight. I also know the Bible speaks of wars and rumors of wars … so I know they will always be around. But I still hate them.
But what I do love are the people who go and serve their country. I had to stop taking the paper for awhile because seeing the fallen soldiers on the front page day after day ripped me up too badly. And sitting there at the airport with my new friend Tabitha, my heart started racing again as I prayed … “please, please spare Destiny’s mom.”
After I got on my flight, I started thinking about Tabitha and what I could do for her. Of course, it was too late now … she was on her way to El Paso and then on to Afghanistan. But here is an idea I had …
Tabitha was drinking a big Coke from McDonalds. I’m sure she has some traveling stipend, but still … who doesn’t love getting a free coke and maybe a burger and fries? Besides …. there just seems something kind of American about having “a coke and a smile”.
Many of us will be in the airports during the upcoming holiday season. Why not buy a few McDonalds giftcards for any soldiers you may happen upon during your travels. You can just give it to them and say thanks … and it sure wouldn’t hurt to offer up a prayer for their safety as you go on your way.