When two different sphere of a person’s life come together it can sometimes lead to fairly awkward situations. There was this one time when my wife and I drove across the country to attend her mother’s wedding and it turned out that the sister of the guy she was marrying was the mother of one of my former girlfriends who… anyway.
The last few weeks have brought another merging of two separate worlds that I honestly never would have seen coming. After high school I enlisted in the Army as a Chemical Operations Specialist. The name sounds big and fancy, but it was basically defense training for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare, whose names I have capitalized out of respect. I enjoyed the work when I actually had a chance to do it.
In a recent conversation with one of the ladies of the congregation I learned that one of our new members was a highly ranked person in the Chemical Corps branch of the Army and was now stationed at the Pentagon. I intentionally sought out this new family and we engaged in NBC small talk. I’ve since been able to get to know them conversationally and have observed them in Bible class settings and am very impressed with them both.
Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for church I decided on a turtleneck sweater with a jacket. Oddly, as I made this choice I thought to myself, "I bet (name omitted) will be wearing the same thing." When I saw them at church at bit later I told them "I thought of you this morning" and told them the story. We laughed a bit and then they responded, "We thought of you this morning, too." As they said this they handed me a bag with a sports bottle and a coin bearing the ensignia of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps on it. I was so honored by the gift that I seriously nearly cried, which is not the expected response when men trade gifts of any kind much less military trinkets that represent Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare.
There were many reasons this gift honored me as much as it did. The most important was that I had very little to show for my time in the service. I’m very proud of my service, but didn’t have anything other than some discharge papers left around to show for it. This gift merges two parts of my heritage into one and gives me something to show off. I will forever be grateful for this gift and look forward to as much time as God allows to working with this great couple.