One of the recent events to which Michael and I went was the homecoming celebration of the 216th Engineering Battalion, an Army National Guard unit returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. They were gone for 338 days, as one family member’s sign indicated. This was a unit of which our organization, Gold Star Dads of America, sponsored 10 families for Christmas.
This was a joyous occasion. The extended families and supporters of those soldiers deployed came out to Los Alamitos in full force to welcome these heroes home. I wanted to feel their joy and happiness. It was a great thing to witness.
But this . . . this was an experience that tested the limits of my endurance in the long-term journey of grief.
The minute I saw soldiers exiting the plane, I was overwhelmed that my soldier Rhys, had not returned and I started to cry. It was a well of tears held up in some remote corner until that moment. I managed to work it out, find Michael in the crowd, and meet some of the families we sponsored. All were so friendly, gracious, welcoming, and thankful for what we had done at Christmas.
Michael and I were both emotionally spent as we walked back to the car. We both agreed that an actual welcome home for returning soldiers might not have been the best type of situation to place ourselves. We reached the car in a somber mood. I noticed a message on my phone and decided to listen before we got back on the road. And here is the hand of God. The unexpected message from a friend turned out to be perfect in its timing. It was just a call to say hello but in a funny way that immediately made me laugh. I was still chuckling on the drive home.
Here is my point. I was facing feelings threatening to overwhelm me but God timed a message just for me. I could have listened to the message earlier in the day because it was left earlier, but I was too busy to get to it then. The message was perfectly timed; joy in a moment of sadness, strength in a moment of weakness. God’s timing is perfect…always.
God reaches down to us not once in a great while, but every single day. We need to learn to recognize His hand in our everyday lives. It’s there; not in a grand, showy way (although He certainly does that, too), but in the loving way a father shows his children just how much he loves and cares for them.
Watch carefully and expectantly and be prepared for everyday blessings.
Lynn Jardinico is an talented writer whose unique life perspective gives her fuel to write with hard biting realism and just the right blend of tongue in cheek humor. She covers subjects as diverse as technical roofing industry articles, and open and honest articles on Faith, Family & Americanism that are sure to delight your senses.