I spent 20 years of my life in the United States Army, the best of which was in the Infantry. In my early years in the Infantry a common farewell from a Commander to his subordinate leaders before departing for a mission was “I’ll see you on the high ground.” I always loved the implied double meaning of this form of goodbye.
The most obvious reference was to earlier times when the objective of most attacks was to secure a piece of high ground in order to gain the tactical advantage that it afforded. I think it was also the case because it was easily understandable and didn’t require a lot of communication, which was lacking in the years before tactical radios. It is pretty easy to point at a hilltop and tell a subordinate element, “Go there and kill anything that is there or tries to kick you off once you own it.”
The second implied meaning, and the meaning I loved, was a likeness of heaven to the high ground. After all, if I didn’t see you on the objective, it meant I would see you in heaven some day and had probably beat you there.
The beauty of the words for me lay in the willingness of the Soldier to accept the second fate, if he couldn’t accomplish the first.
What draws me back to this theme and why I chose it as the title of my blog is really about what has happened since I retired from the Army Reserve on January 28, 2008. Upon leaving the Army, I lost the rallying cry of my life since I was 18. Although I had been somewhat seriously back on a walk with Christ since about 1995 I would not say it was the main cause in my life for most of that time. However, with leaving the Army I have been confronted with the question of what I will live for now. Languishing in mediocrity is not an option. I hope that I will live to be Christ to the world around me. First and foremost to my wife and two sons, but also to those I know and work with and those I will seek out and serve.
I know it is possible to serve God with all the discipline and selflessness that I devoted to serving my country, I just haven’t had as many great leaders to show me the way as I did in the Army. I know because I have seen it, even in the context of the Army. In 2004, while serving in Mosul, Iraq I came in contact with a team of missionaries that was killed in a drive-by shooting within hours of leaving the base where I worked. The next day at breakfast one of my best friends asked me why people would be so dumb as to drive around with no protection in spite of the danger. I told him I didn’t think they had cared about the danger because if they lived they would serve the Lord, and if they died they got to spend eternity worshiping the Lord. While I was in Iraq I can honestly say I worried very little about dying. Whether I lived or died wasn’t that relevant. If I lived I got to do what I love, soldier, and if I died, I got to worship God for eternity. I still don’t worry about it but what I lack now is the intense purpose this side of eternity. My quest is to make God that singular focus for the rest of my time here. That is what I hope to focus on in the entries that will follow.
no entries from Brett follow
Sincerely yours in Jesus through Mary,
Become like Jesus
Live for the Triune God
Seek the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ
See you on the High Ground!
* - J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R. stands for:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
O Beata Trinitas;
St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael