War and peace.

3:05 PM


  We rang in the 4th of July this year by visiting Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.  Such a bittersweet place.  Gorgeous setting, palm trees waving in the breeze and the clearest blue skies and warm sunshine...but you can still feel the sting of the tragedy that occurred there, as pungent as the smell of the oil sheen that still swirls on the surface of the water from the sunken battleship below.

That's right.  It's still leaking oil.

   "The day before the attack, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel — nearly 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel helped ignite the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship, but -- amazingly -- some of that fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage. According to the History Channel, the Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day and visitors often say it is as if the ship were still bleeding."  



     

   The most moving display in the entire museum for me, was a collection of interviews of Pearl Harbor survivors.  The men shared about the details of that fateful day, and what it felt like to be there.

To see it happen.
To know the ones who died.

   It never struck me before how young some of them were.  19, 20 years old.  They were kids.  They said the planes swooped so low they could see the pilots faces.  They said that the oil was burning on the surface of the water and so when men would try to come up for a breath of air, they would sear their lungs.  Rescued men pulled from the waves would have burning skin dripping off of their bodies.


  I've often heard the story of the sunken U.S.S. Virginia with trapped men still alive inside, and you could hear the banging on the walls.....but I never knew that it took up to 16 DAYS for some of them to die.

No one even told their families.  They wanted to spare them the pain.  You can read more here. 



   But as tragic as all of it is, and believe me, it is.....it haunts me to think of the lives lost on those infamous days that we dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.   I cannot begin to imagine the horror and the tragedy of it all.  The casualty estimates are staggering, but it is easy to forget that thousands died, not only initially from the bomb, but much later from cancer. People like Sadako Sasaki.

   Sadako was just a little girl, the same age as Charlotte on the day that the bomb fell.  She contracted leukemia from radiation exposure and spent what should have been carefree childhood days in a hospital bed.  Hoping in the ancient Japanese legend that healing would come to you if you folded a thousand paper cranes, she folded one after another until she had folded 644.  She died at the young age of 12.



   I left the museum feeling slightly dazed......the horrors of war are so far-reaching, I cannot even begin to grasp it all.   I am so thankful for the sacrifices so many have made so that we can live in freedom, but I am heartbroken that it has had to come at such great cost.

   We live in such a broken, shattered world!  It just makes me LONG for Heaven and for perfection and completeness and wholeness and happiness and endless joy.  We just will never know perfect peace this side of Heaven.  Never.

Pain is all around us.  

   Right now a family I know from back home in Iowa is facing their own battlefield of grief, after losing their sweet, precious, little girl.  You can read the story here.  

   She was just Jocelyn's age and it shatters my heart to think of what they are feeling right now.  Her mother shared pictures from her funeral and what a beautiful, heart-breaking, meaningful day it was.  You can see them here.  

   The tears keep coming as I reflect on all of the special details of her day....pretty toenails and red balloons and her teddy and doll laid to rest with her.  I can't stop thinking about what it must be like for her mama right now and the tears keep coming and Jocelyn wonders why I am crying and asks so many, many questions.

   And for once, I am not frustrated with her endless questions, and I answer each the best I can, all the while squeezing her tight and thanking the Lord for her over and over with ragged whispers.

We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
We are not guaranteed today. 

   Please lift this family (and their extended families) up in prayer and hold your loved ones a little closer today.


 

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1 comments

  1. I love your blog! Your humor(in the post about not understanding ppl who don't like the beach), you're mothering, your walk with God. It's a blog that I come to to find refreshment and encouragement!

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