Yesterday when I read “Childhood in a time of peace” by
Ellen Emily (a correction- so sorry for the mistake!) over at Rice and Coffee, I immediately thought of my son. The bookends of the childhood in that slice were bookends in his life, too.
He may not remember seeing the crowds of people climbing onto the Berlin Wall, but I remember seeing in one of the news reports a child in the crowd who was wearing the exact red, blue, and yellow jacket my son had at the time. It was startling for me to see and ponder two boys in such far apart places and circumstances having something so ordinary in common.
Later, a family friend, an Army chaplain like my husband, who was stationed in Germany, gave us an actual piece of the wall. It cemented memories of that time in history in my mind.
My son did not grow up with the same feeling of peaceful times. I am not saying his childhood was not peaceful, it mostly was. But he grew up as an Army brat, wearing child-sized camouflage uniforms like the real ones his daddy wore. He knew there were men and women ready to go off to fight for our country at a moment’s notice. He aspired to wear a uniform when he grew up, too.
9/11 marked the end of his childhood, as well. He joined the Marines right out of high school. Eventually he served in Iraq. Now he lives with PTSD. But he lives.
I remember drills in my elementary school days where I hid under my desk. Now I do these drills with my students. Even though I did the drills and sometimes felt afraid, there was a lot of peace and goodness in my childhood, too. I pray that for my son, my daughters, and for my students.
And then as I am ready to post this, I turn on the morning news, and there is Brussels. We live in times when it is hard to hope for peace. Still, there is no other choice but to hope and work toward peace in whatever ways we can as individuals.
There was a song we sang earnestly during my high school and college years…”Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”