Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

And about that National Guard…

Josh is joining the National Guard again. This will affect many of the decisions we make as a couple over the next twelve years. That’s right. Twelve. He’s signing a contract for six years, and after that, he’ll be close enough to twenty years service that he may as well finish it off.

This has been the biggest decision we’ve made over the last year. And what I’d like to take a minute to do is answer some of the well meaning questions and perform a little related political commentary towards conservative, white collar Christians.

I don’t want to sound horribly disrespectful to people I worship with and talk with on a regular basis, I do want to say that I do understand that your questions are well meaning, but I also want to challenge my friends to think beyond themselves and expand how they view the world.

So, what do I think about this decision? Well, it’s not like I’m completely surprised. Josh was in the National Guard when we started dating. He was finishing his reserve duty from his Army contract by joining the National Guard instead of the Army Reserves. And he was still in the National Guard when we got married. In fact, he was put on stop-loss right before hand, so, I started working on wedding plan B and C. He is not changing “the rules” or “the roles” or anything like that. Plus, I was part of the decision.

And, in general, the National Guard really doesn’t change the way I live my daily life. Some women are hunting widows, some are sports widows, and all like the occasional fun weekend. This just means I can have girl days with relatively little inconvenience to Josh. Furthermore, I can host girl days with little inconvenience to Josh.

What they’re really asking, though, is “What if Josh has to go away?” A very real possibility, but one that I don’t loose sleep over. Sorry Josh’s mom, I don’t. Why borrow the trouble? The odds are that he won’t, and if he does, we’ll deal with it at that time. Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow for it has enough worries of its own. I trust that God is sovereign. Also, I am committed to Josh and my marriage as is he. We will make things work out because we have a high level of commitment. Also, I live in a family with a long history of long marriages. My grandparents survived being separated during WWII.

Yes, things were different in WWII. People actually believed in faithfulness, honor, keeping ones word… And, to the women who tell me things were different in WWII regarding marriage relationships… well, it’s not that I know anything special about marriages, but this: Marriage isn’t about me. Our marriage is about Josh and doing things for Josh that will make his life easier and show him how much I love him. And Josh serves me in return.

Here’s the question, though, that bothers me the most, especially when it comes from a “Support our troops” family. Why would anyone want to join the National Guard/let their husband join the National Guard? Um… and I really hate to say this, Conservative Christians, but you’re the worst offenders here. You see, when I tell my liberal or blue collar friends and family members about the National Guard, they sit there for a minute and say, “You know, the extra money/tuition re-imbursement/pension/signing bonus must be nice.” And those who are more altruistic say, “It’s a good way to serve your country.” I get much more understanding from people with opposing political views.

Conservative, white collar Christians, and I’m appealing to Christians because of a shared holy scripture, please expand with me for a moment and decide whether or not you agree. I find myself fortunate to have beaten the odds to be born in America, to a two parent, middle class household. My extended family, having a more liberal bent to them, has instilled in me the value that we do belong to a larger community. Because we are fortunate, we have an obligation to the larger community. There was a day when being a Christian really meant something besides holding certain conservative values. There was a day when volunteer work and other community service was valued.

Unfortunately, these days, we do not extend our compassion and interest beyond the birth of children, the death of the infirm, or the bedroom of others. I’m not saying that we need to tax more or change our economic system from capitalist to socialist or institute homosexual marriage. What I am saying is that we need an attitude change. Paul, the apostle, says it best in the book of Philippians that our attitude should be that of Christ, to become a humble servant. Yes, Josh and I receive economic benefits from the National Guard. But, more importantly, as a middle class couple, we are not too good to serve the United States. And though I am completely against the draft, I am for encouraging people in like circumstances, conservative, white collar, middle class Christians to contemplate serving their country or letting their children serve their country. Not because you have to, not because it’s a good idea, but because our example is Christ who was a humble servant. We should not consider ourselves higher then what we are, after all.

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