This is not a my typical night at Scania, but it happens. Brush my teeth, watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager, play a game solitaire on my computer, do the Army Times crossword puzzle, listen to the rockets fly overhead and the first impact somewhere in the dark, and then run like crazy for my bunker all the while praying that the next round isn’t the one.
This is what happened the other night. When I got to my bunker I snapped a chem-light (always keep chem.-lights in your bunker) and realized someone else had already found there way there. I heard all to familiar words,
"Hey chaplain, good to see you, I have been looking for an opportunity to talk to you."
Great, talk about a captive audience, we weren’t a-goin anywhere. So, as I settled in I heard the topic that would occupy our attention for the next hour or so. At least most of our attention. I have to confess from time to time I was fixated on my bare feet and scorpions. But, nonetheless, I had a captive audience, I was sitting in front of the door and we were in the midst of an attack. This soldier was mine. I could have baptized him and there wasn’t a dang thing he could have done about it. HA!
The topic of the evening…
"Hey chaplain do you ever help people with their marriage problems?"
Hmmmph. Well, the very naiveté of such a question. Did he not know that he was huddled in a bunker with none other than the Dr. Phil of Scania, Iraq. Help with marriage problems… Is the grass green? Is the sky blue? Is Dr. Phil bald? I eventually got over my slightly bruised ego and replied,
"Once in a while, what’s going on?"
The topic of the evening… HOW TO FIX A MARRIAGE. After an appropriate amount of listening he eventually asked me the question, "What do you think I should do?" I played the pastoral/counseling/advising ace in the hole. It is the equivalent of telling your listener “I don’t know what the hell you should do either” but most of the time it works.
"Well, what do you think you should do?"
I could have just as well asked my fourteen year old if he knew why I wanted him to shut off the lights when he left the house. Nothing. Zilch. Goose Egg. Thus, the reason I was in the bunker for about forty-five minutes longer than was necessary. Between the two of us however we did come up with some pretty good relational advise. I believe it could be applied to a marriage, a friendship, a boss, a child or a parent. Here it is…
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD SOLDIER UP. It’s bootstrap time buddy. It’s time to forget that you worked all day and you are tired. It’s time to forget that you want the day to be about YOU. It is time to forget the pain and go for the gain. So, suck up the hurt and do the right thing. Sometimes in life you have to march. You have suck it up for the sake of others and forget about yourself. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is not always fair. But, it is often the answer. We are not in relationships to receive, we are in relationship to give. And when we focus on the giving a mystical, “Holy cats! How did God do that?” thing happens. We start to receive more than we ever gave. We live with sweet satisfaction of knowing we did all we could and we fulfill our mission. Here is our mission…
WE BUILD BUNKERS. That’s our job. We are to build relational safe places for our spouses, our friends, our family and everyone we come into contact with. That’s what Christians do. You focus your efforts on building a bunker around your spouse and everyone else you come in contact with. If you do this I can tell you what is going to happen. Nine-hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand your spouse and everybody else is going to build a bunker around you. Together you will protect one another from all the crap flying around in our world today.
So soldier up and build a few bunkers. It’s biblical. "Love your neighbor as yourself," the good book says. TheOnlineChaplain Revised Heretical Version reads, "Suck it up and build them bunkers, daylights a burning." It is amazing the things you can learn huddled in a bunker at midnight.......from a bunker.