Friday, October 7, 2016

On His Way Home

There are few things more precious to a soldier than home. Home is his goal throughout the days he isn't here. It's an anchor; it's rest when he's tired. It's good food instead of the decent and healthy but not special food he gets all the time. It's freedom to do what he wants, when he wants it; to wear what he wants.

Each time he is released from base, home is usually the place he races to - bus to a bus to a bus; sometimes with a train mixed in there.

David is on his way home - or should be. He's been stationed at one of the farthest borders from here (won't help our enemies because we live in the center of Israel and all I've explained is that he's likely very far north or very far south). Either way - it will take him hours and a few buses to get here.

Food is cooking; Normally, I make him brownies and more to take back with him. But he's almost free for several days off and so I don't have to do that this week...

I've written this before, but I'll write it again here. One of our greatest curses in having our enemies close on our borders and often within our borders, is offset a bit by the very simple reality that this provides us with two important blessings:

1. It means our sons and daughters serve close as well. They are home at least once a month, more often twice and sometimes even more. It means we can literally get in the car and drive to the outside of the base where they are stationed.

2. It means they know what they are fighting for; they know they are defending their homes. Not in some esoteric, remote, political way, but real, intense, immediate.

There is no country in the world that wants peace more than Israel because our struggle has been very long and deadly. We are a people who mourn each injury, each death. Traffic accidents are reported in the news; murders get top headlines. Crime is relatively low in Israel and women feel safe walking in the streets at all hours of the day; children play safely in their backyards...and front yards, and in the parks and near the schools.

A perfect society - no, not at all, but a caring one without question. My house is filling with the smells of the Sabbath - a bit different this week because we are going for one of those very rare, all-dairy ones. I have lasagna in the fridge; I'm making broccoli and corn quiches. I have ice cream in the freezer. Lauren made salmon and I'm making breaded fish fillets soon. The challah dough is rising. Shabbat is coming soon and David is on his way home. It doesn't get much better than this moment.

Life isn't perfect - I have a long list of aches and problems in my life but at any moment, I can list more blessings than curses and as I learned from Sherri Mandell in her book, "Blessings of a Broken Heart," which she wrote after her eldest child, Koby, was brutally murdered with his friend Yosef, you need to find the blessings. Look for them, recognize them, accept them, celebrate them.

He's on his way home. I'll get my hug soon. He'll hide in his room for a while, but I can close my phone and relax. I can stop fearing a phone call and not worry if my phone isn't fully charged.

May God grant the soldiers of Israel a good and peaceful Sabbath. This week, at least two rockets slammed into Israel, fired from Gaza at our cities. One had some sort of GPS in it, guiding it to hit inside a city, near a school. And the blessing - no one was hurt; the street will be patched, the buildings fixed. No one was hurt.

The next war is one day closer than it was yesterday but it won't be today; it won't be now. .He's on his way home and that's all that matters for a soldier's mother.

Shabbat shalom. 

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