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OPINION

SGLY: The finding of him and me

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Bryan County news
Tiffany Chartier

Hundreds. That is how many pictures were uploaded. As I begin to scroll through the images, I realize I need to slow down. This is going to take much longer than I anticipated. Most of the men in the photos who have a similar build to my son are difficult to distinguish from one another. They don fatigues, identically tucked and fastened. Their hair is cut so short that it seems as if they were made bald then sprayed with a fine and misty layer of paint.  

I search intently for my son’s sky-blue eyes. I do not realize my body aches until I get up to get a cup of coffee. My muscles are stiff, not just from sitting, but because I am anxious. I hope that I will find him. At the same time, I know there is a possibility I may not.

Three refills later, I sit dejected, now with my hands unfolding the last letter he mailed home since beginning basic training. I roll my eyes when I see his handwriting: horrible. And I laugh when he comments in the letter that he hopes I can read it as he knows his script is awful. He tells me he is sorry he cannot call – they are not allowed to use their cellphones.

It is a different feeling not hearing someone’s voice when you know you can change the outcome with a knock on a door or a ring of a phone. It is a much different level of missing when you know the choice has been taken from you.

Even still, I hear my son’s voice as I read and re-read his letter. I am pretty sure I even laughed, sighed, paused, and prayed at the same time he did when he put the black ink to white paper. 

My breath catches as I find the first picture of my son. Even though I had been searching for his eyes, it was something entirely different that led me to recognize him: His smile. A few men back in line, my son looked directly at the camera and smiled. As odd as it may seem, I heard his distinct laugh just as clearly as if he were sitting beside me. And I let out a soft laugh and a deep sigh.

I found him. I found him.

As of late, a myriad of concerns, responsibilities, and unknowns have come into my life. Some I have created; others have been put upon me. I cannot distinguish where one issue ends and another begins. The impact on my body and mind is the same: I am fatigued. I have hope that all will work out. At the same time, I know there is a possibility that what I desire may not come to fruition.

I sit dejected, now with my hands upon the Bible. My Bible - one I have had for over 25 years – shepherding me through the upbringings of my children, beyond breakups and deaths, times of prosperity and hardship, uncertainty and victory.

The Word of God is my perfect truth despite my imperfections and deep flaws. I search intently for the Lord and His favor. And still, I know full well that I fall short. I cannot boast. If there is any good in me is only by the grace and love of Jesus. This is my truth: I live redeemed by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

I hear Jesus’ voice in His promises. I feel Him laugh with me in my joy and cry with me in my pain as powerfully, at times, as if He were sitting beside me. I know the Lord recognizes me – pursues me – for I am His child.

God found me. God found me.

God drew me to Himself in the midst of all and everything. I am comforted in the knowledge that no matter what or who surrounds me, the Lord’s eyes, love, and protection are upon me.

I fold my son’s letter and tuck it neatly into my Bible. One day the letter will be as soft and worn as the underlined pages on either side. Keeping my son’s words near the Lord’s Word brings me a tangible comfort that I cannot explain.  

I return my coffee cup to the sink and realize I need to slow down. My timeframe does not move this world. My worries and anxieties will not hurry the hands of God. He is more concerned with my obedience than my circumstances. God knows the outcome.

I let out a soft laugh and a deep sigh. Lord, regardless of the hundreds of thoughts, distractions, and obstacles surrounding me, thank You for finding me day after day. Thank you for reminding me that You still see me and pursue me. You are my Savior, and I will forever praise Your name.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.