At first I thought she was boarding the airplane with him, as I watched the young wife lean into her husband's embrace and wipe tears on her shorts. But then I saw her him board the airplane alone—the same airplane I was boarding Sunday morning in Albuquerque. Then she turned and walked away, shoulders heaving with despairing tears.
I put two and two together. He had a crew-cut. She was beyond security gates with no ticket. I figured he was shipping out with the military and she had been allowed to see him off to his gate.
I might not have noticed any of this, had I not just heard a heart-stirring speech given by one of my good friends and professional associates this past weekend at a speaker's conference we both attended for CLASS. (Christian Leaders, Authors, & Speakers Services).
Photo: Linda Jewell (left) with CLASS founder, Florence Littauer
Linda Jewell (God gave her this name on purpose because it truly fits) is a Blue Star Mother and speaks on behalf of the organization professionally. Blue Star Mothers of America is an organization for mothers with children in the military. These caring mothers put together all kinds of encouragement packages to send to their troops including letters, food, books, personal care items, hand-made quilts, and many other things. They also encourage and pray for each other on some of those long sleepless nights when they know their precious sons and daughters are in combat zones. Their hearts are knit together in the deepest place of a mother's love and unspoken fears.
In Linda's speech, she encouraged the audience to make the extra effort to encourage people in the military when we meet them in every day life, and to get involved with their local chapter by donating items for the troops. Of course, she also asked that we pray for our troops, which I admit I have not been very diligent about doing. She reminded us that, whether we support the war or not, we need to wholeheartedly support our troops because they are not the cause of the war; they are just doing their jobs and putting their lives on the line every day for our country, often in the worst of conditions. They need so much encouragement.
As I got onto the plane, I passed by the young husband and took Linda's suggestion to heart. I told him that I appreciated the sacrifices he and his family are making for our country, and that I would say a prayer for he and his family. He seemed genuinely appreciative.
And that is exactly what I did after I made my way back to 13C—I wiped my tears on my shorts, and said a prayer for this man and his wife, hoping that they would see each other again soon. And in a way like never before, I appreciated this man and his comrades who have given up the comforts of home to fight for freedom, and for me.
Thank you, Linda Jewell, for enlarging my heart and helping me to understand what you and other mothers are undergoing every day as you wait for your kids to come home