A letter. An actual hand-written letter. Addressed to me! I looked at the return address. I recognized the name, but this was a very strange address for this person!
I hesitated. I don't get many hand-written letters anymore so I wondered, "should I savor this?" "Should I wait until later this evening and read it a little at a time?" But I know something about return addresses, and this one was clearly not from within the U.S. In fact, it was from an APO (military) post office overseas! So, as with Christmas presents, I decided it was worth tearing open and plunging into whatever news would explain the strange return address.
When I last saw this friend in person, it was not too long after 9-11-2001. We had been in the Air Force together years earlier. Post 9-11 we were in very different places in our lives. I was a mom of two little kids. She was still single and working in various capacities for different employers.
We talked about what had happened on the day the terrorists marked our homeland. Our perspectives were somewhat different. My concern was for my husband, still active duty, and what this meant for him. It was also for my children, and what kind of world they would be growing up in. For my friend, it was a call back to duty. She was trying very hard to get back into the fray, to be part of turning back the tide. At that point we had both been out a number of years -- at least eight or so.
During the intervening years we had exchanged Christmas cards and after Hurricane Katrina I called all over everywhere trying to find her to make sure she was safe as I knew she had been working in Mississippi. But since Katrina, back to the Christmas cards.
And then, this letter.
"I'm lying on my tent floor in Afghanistan. I've found its better than trying to write on the bed."
She, somehow, managed to get to Afghanistan to help rebuild that country. Remember - she's an engineer. My friend is of an age now that she has every excuse to stay where it's comfortable and warm and you can get good Thai food. But she wants to make a difference. I know her well enough to know that if this wasn't a call from the Lord, she wouldn't have gone. But I also know her well enough to know also that she is living every minute to the fullest while she's there. Can I tell you how much I admire her perseverance to get there and to do something worth doing? To quote my teen daughter, Wow...just wow.
So...my prayers to K for her safety and for her to be able to complete all the missions she has been assigned, divine and human. Come see us when you're home. We want to hug a hero.