Air stale. Putrid. Thick.
Gunpowder. Rotting flesh.
Graveyard of unburied bodies. Flies.
Explosions, gunfire fly like cars on the Autobahn in heavy traffic. Body no longer reacts to the sounds.
Weapon hugged to chest.
Eyes meet. Recognize.
Dirt and soot and sweat cling to skin like mask.
Those eyes . . . a respite from the battle. For a split second, we are not on the battlefield, not in war...home. And I know, the ugliness won't consume me.
We didn't know each other before our world became life and death. Miles apart. Contrasting sides of "the tracks". Interests, viewpoints, life goals separated us like roaches when you turn on the light.
In the trenches. Through the battle.
Brothers. More than blood. Soul-mates.
Reason to keep walking.
Sustainer through bitter cold and deep weariness when feet refuse to carry on.
Doctor wounds, tell stories, live our faith that someday this will be over. Carry each other through gun fire, darkness and despair.
No competition. No scoreboard. No tally of who saved whose life or who hit more targets, carried the most weight, treated more wounds, told the best stories.
We survive. Together. Pray for one another. His survival and mine - one and the same.
Eyes remind me this battle will not last forever. Foreign land is not our home. Love transcends time and space to cover a multitude of things nothing else will.
Spiritual warfare. Though not physical, battleground nonetheless.
And though we are different. From different places, contrasting thought processes, various races, diverse socio-economic statuses.
Brothers in arms.
The battlefield draws us together.
We doctor each others wounds, tell our stories. Carry one another through gunfire, darkness and despair.
Point to Jesus.
No competition. No scoreboards. No tally marks.
We survive. Together. Pray. Together. Confess sin. Together.
We are in this. Together.
Out of the battle ground, our Father weaves the ashes.