Some commenters have noted that civilians sometimes get a not entirely deserved bad rap around military families.
True, civilians do not always comprehend the challenges the military family faces, but many times they open their hearts to us with such generosity.
My daughter's baptism was one of those cases.
Lilah had her heart surgery earlier than we had expected so we were going to be able to take her to New York for the holidays. Her godparents and most of our family are in New York. So, we wanted to have her baptism during our trip.
Short notice, small time window, and no ties to a congregation in the area. This, I thought to myself, is going to be a challenge.
So, I found contact information for about 25 churches in Midtown and the Upper East Side and began to e-mail them, figuring I would follow up phone and maybe end up with one or two possibilities I could beg and cajole.
Instead, I immediately received a flood of positive responses and found myself in the embarrassing position of having to choose one and say no to the others. One church was even willing to have a private service for our family since we would not be around for their scheduled baptism service. We ended up at a beautiful church close to Lilah's Godparents. This church has a reputation for taking in those who may not have anywhere else to turn.
New York City is not the typical military town, but everyone with whom I spoke wanted to help us out and make us feel welcome.
I explained my dilemma to one of the ministers to whom I spoke--I knew our community is generous and that God would provide, I just hadn't realized He would make it this simple for me. She replied, "Well, you have a compelling story."
Maybe those who are not military cannot really understand the sacrifices and trials--the fear of losing your loved one in a land far away, the emptiness you feel in your arms and in your home during deployment, the frustration of waiting on orders and training schedules to make your plans, and the loneliness that comes from living far away from family because your country needs your soldier...
...but sometimes those civilians sure do try. I thank God for their understanding and appreciation.