The Last Journey
Article #17 “It’s Complicated”
As a young kid, I recall spending my fair share of time in the principle’s office. It wasn’t that I really did anything all that wrong rather it was usually due to some remarks that I made from time to time that seemed to land me in the hot seat. As an adult, that did not change all that much. These days, it just doesn’t matter as much as it used to. I stay out of trouble for the most part. I don’t say that much and I’ve stopped biting my tongue because it hurts. But I always think back to that guy who said, “the pen is mightier than the sword”.
I was supposed to go on a mission last night but at the last minute my seat was not available. Although I was disappointed I had only to say, “yes sir, I completely understand”. It just happens that way once in a while. I feel like I’ve failed not going on the mission but it was completely out of my hands. In this environment, one must realize that I am a guest and here by invitation, not by demand. The “media types” before me apparently did not get that memo. They messed some things up for me. One of them fell out during a mission and couldn’t hack it. It causes problems for the next guy, which is me. There will be more opportunities and as they come about, I will take them one at a time. The months of training I did prior to coming will be put to use soon enough.
In times such as these, it is harder to write and produce something. I received an email from a Lt. Col in the Army last night that strengthened me into my inner man. His name is Jim Murphy. I met him in 2004 while we both prayed over a man named Obadiah who had been critically wounded. The wounded soldier was a spec ops person. I had been told what a good man he was. Jim was a Major at that time and was/is a chaplain. He had been a warrior for much of his military career and one day the Lord called him to be a chaplain. He laid it all down, stayed in the Army, and became the most profound chaplain I have ever met. Simply put, he is just a brother. I had been emailing him for some time and did not have a response. I had given up but kept him on my mailing list for this journey. Last night, after I had been informed that my seat on the mission was not available, I was down a bit. When I checked my email, there was one from Jim. It made me feel joy once again. In short, his mission really is caring for the soldiers well being. I think I care for the soldiers well being on one level, but my eyes are on Jim’s care on a higher level.
I rose early this morning
after a long night. I was up on the high
place here that affords a good view of the morning sunrise. I had a cup of coffee and watched the sun
come up. Unbeknownst to me a man
appeared behind me. He is the person who
works in the MWR tent that assigns us computer and
phone time. He is a contract laborer
Back to Nishant.
He had never been up on this
high place since being here at FOB Boris.
He was startled at the view. He
has been here now over three months. He
used to work in
We spoke a bit about
geography and Nishant asked me if I knew that Bobby Jindal was the governor of
Yesterday we had more incoming and as I was in the bunker, I was able to catch it on audio. Not too bad. Most don’t get that experience. Then I watched as the big guns of the artillery fired back in response to the incoming. Got that on audio as well, along with a few photos of the guys doing their thing with the big gun.
In the late morning I coordinated with a Captain who is in charge of civil affairs here at FOB Boris. The local sub-governor, which is like a city manager job, kind of, was coming by to pick up gifts to take to the local towns people a few miles up the road. During Ramadan, giving gifts of food and other things is kind of a custom of sorts. Showing generosity is the idea behind it, so I’ve been told. I spent some time with this local government worker as he and two Afghan police folks loaded up their ranger pick up bags of rice from somewhere, prayer rungs made in China, and simple portable radios and back packs also made in China. This is the hearts and minds thing going on and I’ve seen it many times before. The sub-governor puts his life in severe jeopardy by going out and doing such things in this area. I inquired if I could go with him as he distributes these items. The photos would be good and it would give me a chance to get out. Of course, that is a no-go. But I thought I would ask just in case. I don’t want to complicate things.
While loading up the goodies
for the sub-governor, I watched as I’ve seen this show before in so many
other places on the globe. Earlier in
the week when I interviewed some cultural advisors, they told me that there are
other non Muslim nations that are supporting the Taliban. The first country mentioned by them was
China. What struck me today was we the Americans, were giving the local Afghan population
via the sub-governor, gifts for Ramadan to win hearts and minds, made by
Right now, as I write,
soldiers from here at FOB Boris are busy out in the field doing what it is they
are trained to do. They are very close
to the Pakistan border. Today, millions
and millions of dollars from the USA is being directed to Pakistan for relief
efforts due to recent torrential flooding there. We, the Americans, seem to help Pakistan out
a lot during such times. It is no secret
here that all the problems relating to the war here in
We are winding things down in
It’s just complicated. Get used to it. Maybe a ten pound bag of rice and a cheap
Chinese made back pack will win enough hearts and minds around here during
Ramadan to slow the flow of rockets being fired at FOB Boris. I hope so.
This year Ramadan could end on September 11th. Right now in
I’m glad I took Nishant’s photo today and gave it to him to email to his fiancé. That was simple and it was free. It kept me out of the principle’s office.