Saturday, March 21, 2009

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Caring for the Warfighter's Soul

Chaplain Mark Robertson, my dear friend, brother and fellow Airman, recently published an essay on his experience with hospital chaplaincy in Iraq. The whole thing is fascinating reading, but here's my favorite excerpt:
My six year old, Dorothea, didn't want me to deploy. She said, “Daddy, what if you get killed?”
To calm her fears, I put on my body armor, saying, “This is bullet-proof.” She knocked tentatively on the breast plate, as if it were the door of a stranger's house. Then she punched harder and harder. Since her little fists couldn't hurt me, she trusted the body armor.
But then she thought, “Daddy, what if Osama Bin Laden gets you?”
I said, "I'll run away.”
She continued to worry, “What if he runs faster than you?”
So to convince her of my lighting quick speed, I started chasing her around the house, wearing my body armor, of course. After catching her, I tickled her. She giggled hysterically, as I covered her with “Daddy” kisses.
Then I said, “In Iraq, the Air Force lets me drive a special car. This car can drive off the road, through the sand, and over rocks. This car drives much faster than Osama Bin Laden can run.”
Amazed, she said, “Over rocks! You can drive a car over rocks. Wow!”
This is how I convinced her that I was safe from all danger. If I could drive over rocks, then Osama Bin Laden couldn't catch me.
The entire essay is available here.

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