The Ticket Out?

As the Gulf Coast reels from this gargantuan one-two punch, a thought crossed my mind. Then the meteorologists said we’re not out of the woods yet, considering the hurricane season doesn’t end until late October. The thought grew stronger and emerged as this entry.

Follow me. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and if it does, these hurricanes have certainly blown it out to sea with 100+mph winds. A great deal of time, money and effort are being spent on dealing with these natural disasters that have literally shut down entire sections of our country. Oil production is sluggish at best and gas prices are higher than the water level on a New Orleans building. In short, our attention has turned inward with such magnitude that foreign affairs seem to fade into the peripheral. When was the last American soldier killed in Iraq? How long until Iraq drafts a constitution? Did we already pass that deadline?

That’s not to say that those things aren’t important. I talk with Chaplain Jon Fisher almost daily, and he is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. But then, so is Renee Doiron, a Katrina survivor and close friend. And like a giant, slow swing of the pendulum, I feel the inertia slowing in the Middle East. These things seems important, but they don’t carry the same weight that they did 4 years ago.

Is terror a threat? Yes. Do I wish for peace in the Middle East? Absolutely. Would I love to see Iraq become a stable democracy? With all my heart. But those all seem so distant, so unattainable, so insignificant in light of tragedy on this continent. At a funeral, I don’t think about work, I don’t think about grocery shopping. I grieve, I embrace, I remember, I grow.

Someone once said that American soldiers cannot fight long battles and offered Vietman as proof. We’ve been in Iraq coming up on 3 years and I know many who are weary, fighting for the freedom of a people so long repressed that like the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt, the future seems both difficult and unbelievable so they just want to go back. Wasn’t it just the other day an Iraqi police force handed British soldiers over to militant fundamentalists? Perhaps this season of such tremendous natural disaster is just the thing to bring our soldiers home.

Some will say that this is just an admission of weakness; some will say that pulling out now equals failure. At any other time in history I may have agreed, but our country is reeling from its own enormous national struggle and we need our men home more than ever now. Now more than ever there is a need for mending divisions in this country, and a good place to start is by bringing Jon Fisher and his crew home to help the people on the Gulf Coast. There is never failure or weakness in salvation and unity.