I spent the day building a wheelchair ramp to our front porch and thinking about how SpouseBuzz tried to describe military spouses in just one word. One word wouldn’t do it.
I recalled a quote from one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck. Steinbeck considered the book East of Eden, his finest work. This military wife quote is from this book. “I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
I can appreciate the depth of communication in this one sentence as it relates to a military wife for two reasons. The first reason lies in the indication that being a military wife, in the best sense of the label, is actually an act of the soul.
As human beings our one common destiny is the passing of our physical lives, we definitely live in a destructible body. In using the term ‘indestructible’ in this quote, the reference is to that eternal part of a person. The indestructible soul.
The second reason lies in the fact that being a military wife requires an uncommon depth of love, a love which requires being left behind during deployments. And if the highest sacrifice is required of her Soldier, being left behind in this world to carry on alone.
While it may be easy to love a Soldier, loving the life that is required by the entire family of a Soldier requires a very special love and devotion, and a willingness to face being left behind. The woman who loves a Soldier, but not his military service, is an unhappy individual, and causes a great burden for the Soldier who loves them.
Another quote I find so full of important truth is by C.S. Lewis, famous author of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Lewis was a Soldier during WWII, and so he knew well the life of the military. He is credited with saying, “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body.”
For a considerable part of his life he was an atheist, but came to a profession of faith, and then wrote many sermons and devotions. I think that the role of military wife is one which carries eternal significance, and that it is the “soul” part of a woman which fulfills this role well, and which is the indestructible part of her. Just as a Soldier is not just participating in a profession as he serves, so his wife is not just the wife of a professional as she loves and stands in support of the service of her husband.
This service calls for a devotion to duty that can very easily require that he “lay down his life” for others. The Bible says, “no greater love” exists than this. I think perhaps being willing to love someone who would make such a sacrifice, and to support that willingness, represents an even greater love.