Mansfield Soldier Killed in Iraq
We knew Justin from the tiny country church we attended for six years, where Scott taught the high school Sunday School class in which Justin was one of four teenagers who attended with varying frequency. He joined the Army as soon as he possibly could; it was what he desperately wanted to do. He was charming (perhaps a bit more than was good for him), mischievious, soft-hearted, good natured, fiesty and generous. After basic training and on his leave visits home, I saw a maturing and deepening to his nature that impressed and touched me: the increasing respect and tenderness with which he treated his parents and grandmother, a decreasing quickness of the clever remarks, and perhaps most of all, a new air of thoughtful discretion that suited him well. His smile remained potentially devastating.
This afternoon I found some part of myself wanting to philosophize about death or to write a poem or . . .something. To do so would be wrong, though, at least for me, at least for now. For now I need to simply remember Justin, to rejoice in the bright facts of his life, in who he was, and in the gift that I was given in knowing him and praying for him. I need to be free to grieve, too, without the pretentious pontificating that might sound impressive but would, in fact, be little more than an effort to dull the ache in my heart for the loss of Justin himself and for his family's pain.
So much darkness. So much light.