Ready the Troops
A letter to Sgt. Andrew Foth,
It is hard to grasp that it has been two years since you left your service on this earth for God’s service in heaven.
As I write this it is Veterans Day, 2022. November 11, people around the country are showing gratitude and celebrating with parades and ceremonies, giving honor to those who have served our country. But today, I am honoring your service, not only to our country, for which I am grateful but as a friend, a lover, a husband and so much more that words can’t even describe.
I have so many memories of Veteran’s Days of the past, days during your service, and the days after your 15 years in the Army. I believe that like so many soldiers before, you exited the Army, but the Army never left you. I believe it carried on with you.
I remember that while you didn’t always agree, you always served with honor. You always cared for those who served under you and served with respect to your superiors, even the difficult ones in ranks above you.
I remember the countless times TAPS brought tears to your eyes.
I remember you would talk to and listen to another soldier just because they needed that time, even when you felt you needed to be somewhere else.
I remember Thanksgiving for soldiers who had no family.
I remember field exercises where you came home bruised and battered, not because of the training, but because of the wrestling matches or volleyball games that bonded your platoon together. You had everyone’s six.
I remember your twisted sarcastic sense of humor that lightened the hard times and shed light on things that needed attention.
I remember the angry, stubborn upset times. Times when it had to be your way, but there were also the soft times when holding my hand made everything better.
I remember that after exiting the service, you put on a uniform and went to war memorials on Veterans Day to talk with the old-timers in wars before yours.
I remember that whenever you saw someone else who served, you thanked them for their service. I find myself doing this now because of you.
I remember not so very long ago, visiting the cemetery where your ashes now reside, checking on the graves of those you knew and those you didn’t. And you standing at the flag at half mast and saluting as TAPS played.
I remember your quiet times when your visions of the past took you to seek peace in a Savior who understood.
I will always remember.
Today, this November 11th, I sit in a cabin overlooking a lake watching it rain. No internet, no cell phone, no TV. Just God and me, talking, listening, writing. Honoring you. Honoring God. Leaning into the still small voice.
I celebrate your new service because I have no doubt you are serving in God’s Army, readying the troops for what is to come. My vision of Veterans Day forever changed, while I still honor those who serve, I now honor your service with God.
As I write this I cry cleansing tears. I feel like God is crying along with me as the rain falls on the cabin by the lake. I cry not because I would remove you from your post in heaven, but because I miss you more than words can say. There is no one like you. Your memory and our life together is a part of who I am. The struggles we overcame together made me stronger. Our times apart made me more independent, but also made me appreciate you all the more. The deployments, the permanent changes of station, the packing, the unpacking, the life changes, the friends, the hopes, the dreams, the farewell, they all shaped me. You shaped me. I pray that I can share the memory of you with your daughter and granddaughters and that the memory of you might shape them too.
God may have another in my future or my time here may require a different focus, I’m not sure. I am ok with that. I am secure in who God created me to be. God’s got me. I am not living in your shadow but remembering the wisdom gained from our lives together. Many won’t understand that. One of the first lessons of our life together, you told me, ”If you had not been through everything in your life, the good, the bad, the heartbreak, the struggles, each decision, each step led you to me.” Now it is time to see where the next step leads.
God cries with me because He knows my sorrow, He understands my missing you. He understands my anxious heart. He gives me peace, comfort, and amazing joy. He leads my way forward. He sees my future, and even though I am anxious about what may come, He soothes my worries and I am forever thankful for this.
There is a verse that has been rattling around in my soul and it gives me peace. “Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” John 16:22
So as you ready heavenly troops for what is to come, I know you are where God wants you to be. I know God still has work for me here and I do my best to honor that service. We are working on opposite sides of the line for the same cause, moving forward a step at a time.