30 April 2008

obedience and coming home

Yesterday I wrote a little something about obedience. Milgram's study on the subject was eye-opening and almost disturbing. We (as humanity) are so eager to follow and to please...what if we choose the wrong people to follow?

Anyway, as I was thinking through obedience on Wednesday, I happened to run across a project while I was out of town on business. A group of blue-collar folks from the Texas coast raised over $10,000 to provide phone cards for the US troops stationed overseas. They raised money to provide hope and comfort to those far from home. Having spent such a large part of my adult life in Africa, away from people that I love, the effort really touched me. I remember waiting for a phone call or yearning to be able to make one to simply hear the voice of someone I loved.

The folks celebrated their achievement with a hamburger and hot dog luncheon, during which they played a video that went something like the video below. They quietly ate while a Vietnam veteran wept, overcome by the with the gift he will take back to his foundation.

I have a hard time with war. I have a hard time watching well-intentioned, courageous, and obedient men and women die. I ask "what for". I pray that they might be made whole after the trauma of their duty tears them apart so deeply. I pray that I might remember to appreciate them more - not because they give us freedom or wealth or security. I hope I learn to appreciate them as brave people, human beings whose lot in life dropped them into hell. I pray they come home. I pray their blood might in some way prevent more of this nonsense in the future.

Somehow, this video moved me very deeply. It makes me sad. And yet, I am hopeful. From darkness...let there be light.

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