Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ben Told Me What My US Private Wouldn't

Today I found a boot camp blog. It's a blog where a guy enlisted in the US Army, wrote letters to one of his friends, and asked that friend to commit to posting those letters as a blog online. I read the intro stuff with no problem. I read the reception stuff with no problem, the part where the soldiers in training were received into the Army, given their gear, and briefed on a little of what they could expect in the way of daily life and responsibilities. I was a little sad when Ben talked about guys who became ill and were dicharged or became discouraged and quit.

I remembered crying at five-thirty this morning when Piglet woke me up and I checked my phone to see what time it was only to realize that last night when I put my phone on silent to put Piglet to bed, I'd forgotten to turn the volume back up. I'd missed his call ... He'd called three times trying to talk to me, sent two texts, and finally left a voice mail and quit trying. I remembered the plea for prayer in one of his texts, among other things he said, "I need you to pray for me please." I did. I begged God to give my Private Ryan more patience, more strength, more endurance. To help him bring up memories of home that would encourage him and remind him of why he is there. To help him see it through and do well so that we can get off to a good start at long last. And then I texted him with the best encouragement I had at hand, love and support from home.

But then as I was reading Ben's blog, eating up the entries as if at any moment they might disappear, I found this: "Day 3 -- Well, I knew it would come, but I didn't know it would come so early: I want to quit. There are no words to describe how hard each day is." And then I remembered Private Ryan telling me that WTC is so much like Basic Training. That they get spoken to like idiots and treated like children. I can sit naively and hope that my soldier is not enduring that loss of dignity ... But I know he is.

He isn't a public person, he would never sit on the phone crying to me about how much it sucks to be taking 30 second showers as a group because there is simply not enough time given to properly accomplish the task. And really, maybe it isn't that hard. Maybe his group of men are given a more lenient schedule since it is WTC and not actually Basic Training. But I am realistic enough to know that this is hard for him, that he doesn't have it easy, and that he is sacrificing a lot right now in order to provide in the future. And I love him all the more for his willingness, I adore him for his effort to stick it out, and I pray daily that he will be strong enough to finish.

But then I went on to read about one guy in the platoon who had attemped to hang himself using his "pistol belt". I don't know what a "pistol belt" is exactly ... but I do know that I will be praying extra hard for my soldier today.