Monday, June 13, 2005


It Is Well With My Soul

I had a hard day yesterday. I received a pillow case signed by several of the unit families during a recent pool party, and great book on VE Day (Victory in Europe, WWII) and the cards from Mrs. Dadmanly and Little Manly, and I was very sad. I was crying today thinking about how much I hate it here without them, how I missed Spud and Jilly Bean and their graduations (High School and College), and how much I wanted to be home and not have to deal with any of this ...

I was up VERY late with work and then writing, and then got up early and was exhausted, then found out that the Command Sergeant Major (CSM) had sent an email at 6:00 am wanting me to be in his office at 10:30 (on my "day off" not that there really ever is such a thing), I find out at 10:35, I haven't even showered, so I throw on my clothes and start walking in anger up to the BN HQ. I end up getting a ride the last bit from the new CPT who is taking over for CPT Esposito.

I get there, and we (CSM the C Company SFC and me) spend an hour and a half pretty much saying the same things we always say. A lot of the conversation is pretty course, that's just how they are. It can wear you down.

I did manage to get about 2-3 hours sleep in the afternoon, but that just made me depressed. Then I read Mrs. Dadmanly's and Little Manly's cards, got all sad, and then went to church.

Turns out they had our first Communion since being here (at least, my first), and I was so upset and angry about all this stuff. I tried to work through my inventory, asking for forgiveness for the things that still weighed against my heart, but I had to walk out of the room as the worship songs started, I was too agitated.

But then God set up this divine appointment. There is an older gentleman who works for KBR and runs the MWR Palace. He comes to our services, but wasn't there tonight. He asked if I was going to the service, I told him how I was feeling, and how I had stepped out to clear my head. He shared that he hadn't been able to take communion today, either, full of anger too and grief and he's been struggling too around the language he hears everyday and succumbing to it sometimes.

I shared that I struggled with that too. He had shared a week or so earlier when we gave him an award for helping the unit, that he had gone through a very difficult life experience and decided to come to Iraq and help the effort here. Tonight he told me that he had gone through a bitter divorce he didn't want after 30 years of marriage, that his child (children?) weren't speaking to him. But he acknowledged that if God hadn't allowed this experience to happen, he would still be at home sitting on the sofa fiddling with the remote and coaching football, and miss this chance to be a part of God's greater purpose and work with all this GREAT young (and not so young) men and women.

I shared with him a portion of our witness, how God had redeemed both Mrs. Dadmanly and I from the tragedy and heartbreak of failed first marriages, and offering him the encouragement that God can do that, redeem brokenness. I shared that God has used our closeness, being best friends to redeem brokenness in Mrs. Dadmanly's family, in my family, in our churches, and that He might give Him that opportunity too. He told me that when he was here with the prior unit, he used to have an "Accountability" meeting with some Captains. I told him what a good idea, that I'd be interested, he said maybe we should both pray about what God would have us do.

I felt so much better after talking to him, that I was able to return to the service, hear the sermon (which was kind of neat), and take communion, which felt good after all this time.

The Chaplain recounted a story about a hymn lyric written by Horatio Spafford on the occasion of his trip to reunite with his wife following a tragic loss. Days earlier, his wife had set sail with their 4 daughters on a trip to England, on a ship that sank in 20 minutes from a collision. Spafford was to receive a 2 word telegraph from her, with the words, “Saved Alone.”

Spafford, when he reached the point in the Atlantic where his daughters perished, there wrote the words to this hymn:
1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
What with the sharing with my KBR friend, the story the Chaplain told, and all the rest, God gave me stories of Hope and Encouragement just when I was down, and that was a pretty cool thing.

This morning I woke up to the clearest sunlight we’ve had in a week. No dust, no silt, no dirt. A smile and and some hope for a better day.

It is well with my soul. It is well, it is well, with my soul.

(Linked at Basil's Blog)

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