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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Conflict, confusion and chaos

As I wrote this, our cat climbed onto my lap, closed his eyes, began to purr and leaned into my chest. I reached over him to type. I’m in a comfortable, loving home. I enjoy a meaningful vocation coaching track and teaching English. But it’s 3:55 a.m. and another night when I can’t sleep.

My son in the military returned to San Diego from deployment in Africa and the Middle East in November. We talked to him a couple days ago. He asked his mother how long twice-baked potatoes need to cook. This Navy SEAL warrior sees himself as somewhat of a gourmet cook. And he is. He is also one of the funniest kids I know. He can animate a story about his training or his college days that will have you laughing in tears. He also can swim underwater to find a target two miles away. He can blow up a quarter-inch steel door without blowing himself up, and he can determine the danger level of an enemy in a tenth of a second before he fires his AK-47 to eliminate it. It’s 4 a.m. now, and I’m wide-awake.

I’m not worried about our cook-comedian. He isn’t the reason I see the big red numbers on my bedside clock radio at such weird hours. But I can’t get out of my mind the CNN image of that reporter standing in a military helmet adjacent the smoking temples of Baghdad with additional news-flashes scrolling along the bottom.


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September issue

SEPTEMBER issue:

Reinventing Sunday school

More...