Members of the military are my neighbors, but they’re not my friends. I know them well enough to know their flaws, but not well enough to love them despite their flaws. And because of that, it’s easy to be cynical.
Between then and now, things changed.
I’m one of the admins of the Anchorage UU Facebook page, and I’m FB friends with most of the members who have “liked” the page. I check back in periodically, and “friend” the new people, if I’ve met them in real life.
Shortly after friending a new member, she posted a link to her blog, and through her blog I learned that she is a military spouse. I wondered if there were ways the congregation could be supportive.
We started reading each other’s blogs, which was fun. But then I found out that her husband was reading my blog, too, and all I could think about was the post referenced above. I wondered if he’d read it, and if so, what he thought about it.
So I asked him. And learned a lot from his response. In the time since then, little by little, I’m learning more about what it’s like to be in the military, or to have a family member be in the military. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn.
I don’t know Bridget and Dallas well enough yet to know their flaws, but I know them well enough to have lost my knee-jerk cynicism about the military.
This memorial day, I do have military friends. I’m glad for all the ways that knowing them helps me see the world through their eyes.
And I’m wondering why, with both Elmendorf & Fort Richardson nearby, our congregation doesn’t have any intentional outreach to military residents of Anchorage.
Something to think about and work on between now and next Memorial Day.