Monday, April 11, 2005

My War Wound

Click to enlarge

Blackfive posts some new Marine posters. The above is my favorite.

When I converted to Orthodoxy, I had just finished college, and had a Nazarene theological degree... but Nazarene Theological degrees don't go too far when you are Orthodox. I still had the desire to pursue the ministry, but one requirement for my becoming a priest was that my wife would have to convert... and she wasn't ready to convert when I was. She also felt a lot of pressure to convert, for that reason, but didn't want to convert just to make me happy... and so I had to ponder what other carrer path I should take. At that time the first Gulf War was on the horizon (and predictions were at the time that it would be a long and bloody war, rather than the short and nearly bloodless war (for our side) that it turned out to be), and so being my father's son (he was a World War II vet, and instilled in us a sense of duty and obligation to our country), I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I had prayed about it. It seemed the best path to take, but I aslo asked that God's will would be done.

While I was waiting to ship to boot camp, once a month, we had to report to a poolee meeting. This particular poolee meeting was during the air war, and as all the poolees ran in formation with the US and USMC flags waving, people stopped to applaud and show their support. We stopped at a park, where we played flag football... but most of the poolees were fresh out of high school, and were eager to impress their recruiters, and so played it more lack tackle without the benefit of pads. Someone hit me from behind, and I felt a pain in my lower back, but didn't think too much of it at first. But when we ran back to the recruiter station, I was really feeling it toward the end of the run. I still figured it would only be a problem for a day or two. As it turned out, I could hardly stand up or sit up for days.

What made matters worse was I had no insurance at the time (I was supposed to have had insurance while in college, but I always put down on my paper work that I was insured by "Yahweh, Inc.", and my policy number was "MT0817" (for Matthew 8:17)), and since I was not yet active duty, I could not use military medical care... despite the fact that I had to report "as ordered sir..."

To make a long story short, I was in limbo for a couple of months, because it was hoped that it would get better, but it didn't... really. A couple of times I thought I was making progress, and began working out again, only to have that pain come back as bad as before. In the meantime, the gulf war ended, my wife converted to Orthodoxy, and I finally got a release from the Marine Corps, when it became clear I wasn't going to be able to go any time soon.

Years later, when I finally had the insurance to see a decent doctor, and my back was bothering me enough to prod me to go and see one, I found out that I had hyper extended a semi-movable joint in my lower back, and that since then it had become arthritic. It still gives me trouble from time to time, but I believe God used that injury to guide me in the way He wanted me to go. I enjoyed my brush with the Marines, still have a love for the Marine Corps, even though I wasn't able to earn the globe and anchor. But I can say that I enlisted in the Marine Corps, and was wounded during the gulf war. :)