SGLY: Greater than any obstacle
There are stories told that move beyond a string of words. These stories are strings that play upon the heart. They are often spoken in truth more than elegance by way of grit and vulnerability. It is these stories that give us pause. We attach emotions to words that otherwise would be listened to and left. But soon we discover it is the listener who is left in a state— left in a state that taps into the humanness of us all.
During a long drive last week, I heard such a story. As I sat in the passenger seat, I listened to a strong voice behind me tell of his recent experiences in the Army. He was home for a few weeks after completing Air Assault school.
My son’s voice was familiar and yet different. It had matured, deepened in more ways than just tone. His youthful naivety had been stripped and whittled into something only both good and bad experiences could create… events he shared and those I suspect he will forever keep to himself. I listened to all he said and heard much more than a string of words.
“Hey, I just want to tell you that thinking about my family got me through the toughest times,” he said.
Somewhere along the way he went from describing experiences, practices, and skills to expressing the grit and vulnerability behind the action. I honestly don’t think he recognized the subtle shift, but I began to feel his stories, or rather, the emotion embedded in his experiences. I heard traces of fear and fortitude, tension and tenacity. It was hard for me to remain facing forward knowing he was behind me, reliving flashes of facts that I was only hearing for the first time. All I could do was listen and receive his truth. In receiving, I was left in a state that tapped into the core of humanity: the state of love and loyalty.
I have two boys separated by two years and different temperaments, interests, and styles. When they were in high school it was not uncommon for me to witness arguments that led to living room wrestling matches. They knew precisely how to press one another’s buttons. (They still do.) They also knew how to have one another’s back. (They still do.) Brothers.
After they moved to different colleges, they came home for breaks, often staying up most of the night talking or watching television together. When they graduated from college and found themselves working in different states, their time together at home for the holidays would start with a slap-on-the-back greeting and end with a tight hug. A hug that was a story in and of itself with a familiar theme: love and loyalty.
The oldest eventually went into the Army, and the moments he could see his brother became less predictable. When he could fly home on leave, his younger brother would make the drive to see him. In the few days they could spend together, they would inevitably end up just as they were as kids — sometimes fighting against one another but always ending up fighting for one another.
“I had to complete an incredibly high ladder climb,” the voice from the backseat continued. “The higher it went, the greater the distance between the rungs. On the last rung, I had to reach beyond
my height – jumping to catch hold of what I was unable to fully see,” he explained. “And then I had to make my way over and down.”
“That sounds terrifying,” I said.
“It was the most difficult obstacle I have done. It took everything I had. The only way to finish was to finish,” he said.
There was a silence that followed that made me want to speak, but I remained quiet. The pause filled itself with unspoken emotion that was forming itself into words. “Yeah,” he chuckled, “what got me through was really crazy.”
“What? What got you through?” I asked.
“I told myself that my brother was in trouble. I told myself that he was on the other side and needed my help. At one point, when I thought I might get stuck, I yelled — screamed — ‘I AM COMING, BRIGHTON!’ I had to get to him. I just had to.”
I stared out the window as my view blurred from forming tears. We never know the lasting impact of having someone to fight for, live for, and to love. Most of us can name who we would die for, but we rarely consider who we are living for. There is someone who would reach beyond their height to scale an obstacle beyond their vision just to save you. Just to make sure you are well and well-loved.
May we never forget what connects us is greater than any obstacle. No height nor depth can ever separate us from true love. And the greatest example of this is Christ Jesus.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39).
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.