Sitting in the hair salon, black smock snapped up around my neck, oh yes, you know it, I was a thing of beauty when my stylist asked me about the West Point graduation. At last distance and perspective are finally allowing me to drink in the enormity of the events. Thank you Julian for a fine haircut and a necessary reflection on life.With the ligature of exhaustion behind me, I’ve summarized that if Graduation Week was a car it would have been a cherry red Maserati with Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel. Fast. Full throttle. Overwhelming.
We were spent, emotionally, physically and financially. At times, I wasn’t sure I could do one more early morning departure and high intensity event. And although the actual graduation ceremonies were truly epic, they were eclipsed by what happened afterward.
Upon receiving his diploma, Nate went to finalize things back at the barracks. Our gang headed to the Cadet Chapel for an event organized by Officers’ Christian Fellowship.
After the sponsored lunch reception, we walked into the chapel. For the second time that day, our son’s name was read and this time, he joined the other newly minted officers up to the front of the church. Still mottled with sweat but thanks to ice cold bottled water and a sandwich, I now had a small amount of energy to prepare me for what was next.
Nate and the others were asked to find their families in the chapel. Tom, who is an LTC, a West Point grad and the current OCF coordinator, instructed each of the 2LTs to locate a place where they could be prayed over individually. That’s when Nate knelt down before us. Head bowed and silent, the Hubs and I, followed by his two younger brothers placed our hands over this gift from God. I laid claim to Nate’s freshly shorn head and tenderly held his face in a way he has allowed me to as his mom. He was wearing his dress uniform for the first time in public. So handsome and strong. The Hubs had a firm grasp of one of Nate’s shoulders, Aaron and Ike rested their hands on the other.
Nate had just demonstrated a profound act of service and submission as an Officer in the United States Army and as a Christ follower.
Somber and reverent, we entered the sacred moment. Nate’s girlfriend and her dad traveled all the away from El Salvador and my stepfather were present and remained seated. I wonder what it must have been like to be an observer, to catch words and facial expressions filling the chapel.
Protuberant pride and unspeakable humility were shared by all even though I heard only the prayers of my clan.
I have been privileged to pray for and with my children. We have prayed for their health, salvation and future, even things like basketball games, grades and friendships. On one hand, you could say we are skilled prayer warriors but I wouldn’t recommend that. Yet despite years of experience, I have never felt so spiritually raw as I did during this moment.
What do you adequately say to God when your child has successfully completed this 47 month journey? Are there even words in human language to express to the Lord all the thankfulness a mama can contain for bringing her child thus far? And how you do ask the Author of Life to protect your baby without sounding selfish because you mean it truly from the bottom of your heart for all the other Soldiers everywhere in harm’s way?
So this is when the Hubs and I began to lose it. Tears streaming, hearts open wide, we supplicated and spoke to our Heavenly Father. Oh we were a fright to be sure, stripped of our own energy, but there we were – a daddy praying for his boy, a pink hair-streaked mama inclining the ear of the Lord and two knuckle-headed brothers spiritually lifting up their big brother. Not a traditional Norman Rockwell scene but I hope it was a beautiful picture in God’s sight.
The West Point part of our adventure draws to a close but the memories usher in. A deeper level of faith and trust are now required. Yes, it’s a lot to absorb. If you have read this, you have blessed me and helped me more than you know.
And this is what happened to me at the hair salon in June and on a steamy day in May at West Point. I’m glad Julian asked, I must be ready for this. Lord, let it be so. ❤