Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Grocery Cart

Debra Woolard Bender
Written loosely in the style of haibun, January 27, 2008
Haiku: One Deep Breath theme for Week 86: Vision

In a dark time, the eye begins to see. — Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

My son, having less than three years left toward his second decade in the Air Force, recently volunteered to go to Iraq. His intentions were toward an open teaching position. A leader and instructor, that is what he does. His motivating desire is to give something of value to the Iraqi peoples. To give their military his knowledge-tools for rebuilding that they may become more self-sufficient. To use his teaching skills built through his field of work and experience. But last Tuesday, he was called to a four month stint, a duty not of his choice, and not in his field of expertise. That is the way of the military.

He will be leaving Georgia on Friday en route to the base in Iraq where he will serve. Originally, he was ordered to fly out only two days after notification, which didn't leave enough time for preparation. Although both work full-time, money has been too tight for my son and his wife, and this tour of duty will provide extra pay to help them meet expenses. He had been praying for an opportunity to add income in some way. He feels that this is the way of God's answer.

Later, in the afternoon of the day he told me the news, he phoned again. In the course of conversation, he told me about a quick trip to the grocery store with his wife and baby daughter to buy milk and bread. Before them, in the checkout line, stood a black woman and a white, retarded boy waiting for the cashier to ring up the total.

"Mom, the boy was so happy just to push the cart. Just pushing that cart made him so proud and happy." My son grew quiet, and I could hear him sobbing. It took awhile for him to gather his composure. To be able to speak. His voice came out strained. Completly broken.

"She told the boy, 'We don't have enough money for everything. We have to put some things back.'

"Do you know what they were buying?...What she had to put back?... Laundry detergent...staples. I wanted so badly to buy it for them. I didn't have the money to... . I had to buy food for my own family... . I couldn't...even... ." Driving home, he told his wife they had to find some way to do something for others who are in such need in their town when he returns from Iraq. Such is the way of my son.

frosty window
two abandoned cats watch me
prepare breakfast


Note: Please read the referenced, linked Roethke villanelle poem, In A Dark Time.

Update: February 1, 2008 - My son's deployment date was bumped up a week. This morning he was notified that this change in dates brought about another change. The Air Force powers-that-be reviewed the position, decided it was not critical at this time and therefore, his orders were cancelled. In many ways, he is disappointed not to go, although his family breathes a collective sigh of relief. Thank you Debbie@piacere, and those who have been praying for Mark and the family. Your prayers have been answered in this unexpected way.

7 comments:

qualcosa di bello said...

since moving close to a base we have always "adopted" deployed soldiers, meaning that we pray for them every single day of their deployments. i want you to know that i will keep your son & his family in my daily morning prayer~~ what a beautiful soul he has.

Debi Bender said...

Thank you - his name is Mark. He would want you to pray that whatever he does, that he would make a difference for the good.

qualcosa di bello said...

thank you for sharing his name~~ i will pray as you ask...& i will pray for mark's safety & for his & his family's peace in this circumstance...with love,,debbie @ piacere

LittleWing said...

i just happen to pass by.. what a beauty... amen, a prayer of perfect peace and safety...

Debi Bender said...

Thank you Debbie and littlewing. Here is the update as of today: February 1, 2008 - My son's departure date was bumped up a week. This morning he was notified that this change in dates brought about another change. The powers-that-be reviewed the position, and decided it was not critical at this time and therefore, his orders were cancelled. In many ways, he is disappointed not to go, although his family breathes a collective sigh of relief.

cordieb said...

I shall keep Mark in my prayers as well. I see from this posting that he is a beautiful human, as well as his mother. This posting brought on a rush of emotions for me. I sure do remember those days. Thanks for sharing. Peace, Light and Love to you and yours. . . CordieB

Debi Bender said...

Hi Cordie,

Thank you for your beautiful note.

Although, as noted, his deployment was cancelled, he (and I, too) value your prayers and thoughts. Perhaps that he might find a way to benefit the people from his town, whom he also saw in need.