A Soldier of One

March 9, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

The US Army has commercials that talk about “A Soldier of One.” It’s a cool campaign.

I was thinking about that concept this week because I had an opportunity to do a video for the US Army for the last three days. I played a Master Sergeant (yes, I was a kind of pudgy, cuddly, Master Sergeant– they are rare, but do exist). I wore a uniform (yes, I looked good… after the guys showed me how to tie my boots and stuff). I met some young soldiers (a group of guys right out of boot camp). I don’t think I can say anything more because I do not know what I can or cannot talk about on a blog page (mysterious, huh?).

I will say this: I realized how much of “a Soldier of One” I can be. Unfortunately, I don’t say that in the way the commercials mean it (rugged, capable, independent, brave, mission-oriented). What I mean is that I can be pretty self-absorbed at times. My world includes others, of course, but not a lot.

For example, I don’t get a newspaper. (The reason I stopped getting a paper is because I didn’t read anything except the sports page… I decided that I would forsake sports news and read the Bible instead. I mention this so that you realize my spiritual vibrancy and don’t judge harshly when you hear how clueless I am about current events) Not a big deal, right? But I don’t watch the news either (except SportsCenter– and that doesn’t count). This means that I don’t have a clue about what is happening in the world– I just know what’s happening in my world. And my world is pretty small.

I think we can all get a narrow view on the world sometimes (And perhaps there’s some goodness in that: we can focus on important things in our lives without a lot of outside distractions– family, friends, faith, hobbies, vocation, etc). But I think God has a way of moving us outside of our cozy little cocoons sometimes– and most of the time we don’t like it. He gets us out of our comfort zones to expose us to things we may not ever choose to expose ourselves to. It could be a hospital room, a court, a half-way house, a school classroom, a support group or a church.

But something happens in those strange, uncomfortable places that can never happen in a cocoon. We grow and experience LIFE in a whole new way. We see things from a different perspective. We see other people. We see other things.

In the last year, God got me out of my cocoon. I’ve learned more about Him, myself, and others in the last year than in all the other 41 years combined (okay, that maybe is an exaggeration but I was never very good in math… I’ve learned a lot– let’s just say that). Maybe it’s just me. I’m a little slow (I can hear those “Amens” out there!). But, at least I’m out of the cocoon and testing these fragile but functional wings. And it’s kind of fun (scary– yes, uncomfortable– sometimes, interesting– all the time).

Putting on a uniform did not make me a soldier. But it did give me the opportunity to put a face to some current events that I have ignored for too long. It allowed me to meet 12 fine young men who work hard and have values and are not afraid to serve their country. 12 men who will have to rely on others in the weeks and months ahead more than I may ever experience.

I’m glad that God doesn’t want us to cocoon-up– and even will rip it open sometimes so that we have to fly.

I don’t want to be “an Army of One”… So if you see me hurriedly spinning a chrysalis (SAT word– 100 points!!) to protect myself, tell me to drop and give you 20 (I know that’s not a lot– but it will get my attention because I think I can only give you 7 good push-ups).

Think I’ll start by praying for 12 soldiers…

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