It's been a long couple of weeks.
I've been putting off writing about this, for various reasons. One is that I've been too unfiltered and wouldn't trust my judgment in writing. Another is that I wasn't sure that I even should write... but you know, one of the purposes of this blog is to tell the story of a military Chaplain's family... so here goes...
Two weeks ago, Sunday morning, 6:00am. I heard my phone ring, and sprang out of bed to the other room to get it. If there's one thing that's certain in this world, it's that 6am phone calls rarely contain good news...
I missed the call, but it was the Commander's wife. Jon hadn't heard his phone ring just before, so they tried mine.
There had been a suicide.
Jon spoke with the Colonel and took off... I barely saw him over the next couple weeks. He came home exhausted every night, working seven-day weeks.
More details have unfolded since that morning, but the one big question has remained unanswered: Why?
It was actually a good friend of Jon's. Tragic situation, difficult for everyone involved. And because it was a staff officer, the people making decisions and handling the situation (the other staff officers) were all his friends.
The Memorial Service was Wednesday. The sculpture of the helmet, dog tags, weapon, and boots adorned the front of the chapel, next to a large picture of the deceased. Jon sat on the stage, stole around his neck, friends by his side.
His wife was out of town at the time (with their five-month-old daughter). I went with the Commander's wife and another Soldier to meet her at the airport. That made it more real, to see her standing in front of me. She's my age. She left a wife, and came home a widow.
A few nights ago Jon went with the Commander to visit her. At one point she turned to Jon and said, "How could a merciful God do this?"
The fact is, our merciful God did not do this. Living in a sinful and fallen world did this.
A couple weeks ago I wrote that the 60-90 day window after a deployment is statistically the hardest. It's true.
I have had this blog post sitting in my drafts folder for over a week now. Somehow, I haven't been able to bring myself to post it. I haven't wanted to write about anything else until I published this, but I just couldn't do it. One of the reasons is that I have no idea how to end it.
Sometimes I think we have to add that "but" disclaimer to everything - "but it's okay" "but God's in control, so it will all work out" ...
Unfortunately, there is no happy disclaimer for this post. No "On the bright side...", no "it'll all work out". Not knowing the state of his heart (do we ever?), I can't even confidently say "he's in a better place"...
Sometimes there aren't answers.
Sometimes there aren't bright sides.
Sometimes we just pray and have faith that our God loves us, even when the world doesn't look the way we think it should.
This is one of those times.