Today the Washington Post published an article “Who Shot bin Laden?” (You can read the whole article here .) I’m not so much interested in the name of the person who did it, but I am always intrigued by the story behind the story. More specifically, what does it take to be a Navy Seal? What does it take to accomplish courageous acts of selfless heroism–to make a difference in the world?
One portion of the article caught my attention and has captured my thoughts:
His hands will be calloused, Smith says, or just plain “gnarled,” as Marcinko puts it. And “he’s got frag in him somewhere,” Marcinko says, using the battlefield shorthand for “fragments” of bullets or explosive devices. This will not have been the shooter’s first adventure. Marcinko estimates that he might have made a dozen or more deployments, tours when he was likely to have run afoul of grenades, improvised explosive devices or bullets.
Be we a Navy SEAL or not, we’re all living life with “frags;” memoirs of the hits we’ve taken. These frags may be an empty ache from loss, disappointment, lingering pain, memories of hurtful words spoken to us or by us, recollections of rejection, criticism, or betrayal. Maybe somewhere deep inside we believe that only the weak or careless get hit–that the ones strong and smart enough can avoid the pain. Let the training of Navy SEALS remind you: No matter how strong, how skilled, how trained, We can’t get through life without running afoul of pain.
Very little pain in life can be forgotten. It gets lodged into our being and we carry it wherever we go. For some, it will embedded as a looping voice box of shame. For others, it will be a memorial of healing, so life can keep being lived. “Frags” remind us that freedom comes with a battle.
Each person must determine how much power to give their “frags.” Will it leave them disabled, embittered, and helpless? Or will the “frags” be symbols of strength and courage?
I think we often believe we’re the only one with “frags.” We run our fingers over the scars they’ve left. We cover them up so no one will see what a freak we are. We look covetously on others who we believe have escaped the explosive devices of life. We sit at home thinking our frags make us useless, broken, and subsequently sidelined forever.
There is another option: We can go out and keep fighting for freedom–ours and other’s. Taking a fragment of pain is not the worst thing that can happen. The moral of this news story is that the mission is greater than one person’s past wounds. It’s true for you, too. You are more than your “frags.”
Could it be that your “frags” from yesterday are there to give you courage for the battle you will fight tomorrow? Will you let them remind you that you survived them for a greater purpose than just to carry them around?
What does it take to accomplish courageous acts of selfless heroism–to make a difference in the world? It takes knowing that your mission will include pain. Face it and embrace it, knowing that there is something bigger outside of yourself; something more compelling. A Navy SEAL fears missing out on the mission more than mission itself. This was the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ–freedom was worth the frags! If you are going to make a difference in the world, than we must not fear the “fragments” more than the whole.
I have my own “frags.” I know you do too. May they speak courage to us today.
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:16-18.