The dropping needles are far more noticable when there are no packages under the tree. The scene can only mean one thing – Christmas has come and gone. In one sense, it was my best Christmas ever as there were a couple of moments back in April when I wondered whether I would live to see it (totally irrational, I now realize). In another sense, it was an odd Christmas, since my eldest son was a part of the celebration in voice only via the computer.
Serving a 6 month deployment in Afghanistan, this son, husband and daddy sent wonderful handcrafted gifts. We would have exchanged them, and all the others we received, to have him home. But we are so proud of the courageous sacrifice he, and his family, are making.
Among the gifts were scarves my son purchased from a very special shop called Kandahar Treasure. Launched by Ragina Hamidi in 2003, the business employs women artisans from the Kandahar area who make home decor items, clothing, accessories and more. The scarves we received are embroidered with the unique stitchery of this region.
Even more importantly, purchases from Kandahar Treasure supports an organization whose purpose is to develop an economic base for the province and support the advancement of women throughout Afghanistan. Afghanis say, “A woman is the light of the family.” But they are also the light of their society, and Ragina Hamidi’s vision has supported this thought. This, despite the fact that she’s lived through decades of war and internal strife, and saw her father, Kandahar’s mayor, assassinated in July. Read more about this woman of courage.
Everyday there are stories in the media about our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts focus on them and what they’re experiencing. But we seldom look beyond the camo to consider the spouses and families back home, waiting with pride and trepidation.
My daughter-in-law and grandchildren fit into that group. And it was my daughter-in-law who stumbled upon the blog entitled “To Love a Soldier.” It is the very creative work of the wife on a soldier, now living through her husband’s second deployment.
Reading through the posts is very moving, but just as moving are the responses of all those who, like my daughter-in-law, have found strength in the knowledge that they’re not alone in their feelings, frustrations and longings. They are a very courageous group who deserve our attention and prayers. Regardless of where their loved ones are serving, let’s celebrate their courage by thanking them for their service as well.
I owned Eleanor 5 years before I made my December 2008 cross country move to Michigan. In all that time she had been on lots of trips throughout the southwest, but never into weather below freezing. So imagine my surprise when I hit the 32 degree mark (somewhere in Missouri), looked in my rear view mirror, and saw the word “Ice” glowing from the corner. It was a feature of the truck I didn’t know existed – that of notifying the driver that it was bloody cold outside – as Eleanor and I had never been in below freezing temps together.
Hmmm … what interesting features are lurking around our chassies … things we’re totally unaware of until occasions arise that draw them forth? True, some may be qualities we’d prefer not to recognize, but like Eleanor, I’ll be you’ve got some goodies that would surprise and delight you!
My Eleanor is gone now. But I don’t think the lessons she taught me will never go out of warranty.