Thursday, April 22, 2010

May I Take a Picture of Your Chest?

I don't believe I've ever asked a woman that before, but today it felt strangely appropriate.

Considering the fact that she was carrying an assault rifle, a pistol, and enough ammunition to shoot me and several dozen of my closest friends, I did pause before I asked.

I call her "G.B."

It stands for Gun Bunny...

Her job is to ride around in vehicles transporting people around town. She helps to navigate, work the radios and watch for threats while enroute. If there is an attack on the convoy, she's prepared to fight.

She's part of a team, of course, as we all are. It just so happens that she's the only female on this particular team, although there are a few ladies performing similar duties in the area.

She grew up with brothers and learned to banter, fight, and hold her own. She'll soon be going home after several months of working out here. Driving in Kabul can be exciting at moments, but luckily no attacks have taken place against any of our vehicles.

I saw her as I was on my way to lunch and asked her if she'd like to join me. She agreed, so we gathered our spaghetti noodles with WAY TOO MUCH GARLIC, a pork chop and some vegetables and sat down...

As we talked about children, jobs, and future plans, the tough facade she's been wearing opened up just a little.

She said something about her plans that inspired me to make a small sketch on a napkin, illustrating how it seemed she was lining things up so that she would achieve success in her goal. Basically, she was aligning everything so that her wish could be fulfilled.

As I finished my drawing, I noticed she was fighting back tears...
"Oh no? What did I do?" I thought...

She then shared with me that she's been "walking with God," praying as she walks around each day. Recently, her nephew's been having some medical problems and she's anxiously awaiting her return home to see him before a surgical procedure. She'd asked God for a sign that she was doing the right things, and she interpreted my drawing as her answer from God.

So I smiled and gave her my napkin, and she stuffed it into a pocket.

I'm grateful that I was able to participate in a simple miracle today.

It wasn't even a very skillfull drawing, but it got the point across and touched a heart.

I'm also grateful to glimpse the soul of another human being here today. Someone who cares about family and friends, enjoys helping others, and at her core is a very kind-hearted woman. There's a real live person in there!

Of course, no one else here would believe it. She's played the "tough guy" role for months, and that's all some people will ever see.

When her plans all fall into place, she'll have room in her life for adventure on her terms.

It makes me wonder about each one of these people around me. Each one has a story and personality. Even the ones who "talk trash" and act tough have a softer side. They read, play music, coach their children's teams... They love to boat or ski or ride horses.

All unique, and all special. I'm grateful to serve with such interesting people. Everyday is an opportunity to interact and touch people's lives.


Treasures By Brenda said...

Another great post; you didn't make me laugh this time...but then that wasn't your goal, was it.

Deb said...

Thanks again for brightening my day. I certainly can understand the facade that people carry around with them. Self protection, preservation. And none of us could ever feel the intensity of the situation that you all go through every second of every day over there.

It's wonderful to hear your stories and see the truly great person that you are! God Bless You and Keep You Safe!

Geoff said...

Mike I so agree with your conclusion that most people, especially the "talk tough" people, have a heart and a soul that is yearning to breath free.

I have had some fairly macho friends who are willing to drop that facade with me and it is so very gratifying.