The soldier on the right side of the photograph is the son of a very good friend. He is stationed in the Middle East today, with no hope of returning home until much later this year.
I wasn’t expecting this. This young man, this soldier, whose eyes have seen things most of us would only see in nightmares, is a little boy to me, a boy I love like a son. My life is lived in relative peace, with little intrusions, but to awake and see this picture, to be confronted with the reality that this boy, this kid, is in the middle of something so awful … it made my heart hurt in places I could not even imagine.
Here are the words written by his mother, words only a mother could write. And they are words any of us would write if it were our son in this photograph. Be prepared to be moved.
This seems like a common picture, just like we see on the news every day. But what makes it uncommon to me, is that the soldier on the right, with the gun in his LEFT hand, is my baby boy. The one whose eyes dance, and whose laugh is like a song. The one who colors with his left hand, and cocks his head to look out of the left side of his eyes. Who, because his heart can’t contain all the joy God put in it, almost always has to laugh his thanks to God when he says the blessing.
With the news that four more US soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb last night in southern Baghdad, this picture makes my heart hurt. I do know that as of this morning he is okay, but there will be four mothers and families who will get very different news this week. Thank you for your prayers. Please keep remembering them all.