Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Day 172 - Heart to Heart

When Myron answered the phone early this morning, George was sobbing on the other end of the line.

Dr. George Monta—the Pastor who married us, my surrogate dad, my mentor, my 80-year-old friend—struggled to tell us his wife, Adaire, had survived a heart attack during the night. (Back row, left in photo)

“The doctors said she had a major event,” he explained. “They asked for permission to do whatever necessary to save her life.”

Adaire is resting now in a Wisconsin hospital 770 miles from home. She and George left North Carolina two weeks ago on a ministry trip scheduled to have ended here in Arkansas next week.

Although I’m disappointed their visit will be postponed, George always says time is only a pesky detail in light of important and eternal things.

George and Adaire have been married for 59 years—an eternity in its own right, by today’s standards. The wisdom of their experiences, freely shared in emails and letters to seekers around the world, has endeared them to many hearts like ours.

Last year, when we learned Wayne's unit was going to Iraq, George wrote, "Wayne’s deployment is in the hands of the Father. I know about deployment, having gone through WWII and faced action at Iwo Jima. As a medic I didn't have to carry guns, but I had to dodge planes and other angry things of destruction such as mines, typhoons and dreadful storms at sea. We didn't encounter subs, but that was history as it happened and we were blessed. Wayne is part of history as it is happening. It is what IS. That's the Name of the One we love and trust. All will be well."

Here’s another of George’s favorite sayings: “When WATER is written on paper, it has an intellectual meaning, but is not useful in and of itself. All written truth becomes real only when lived out by experience.”

George knew none of us would understand "deployment" until we lived out the orders--Wayne, in Iraq; his family, here at home.

My favorite marketing guru Seth Godin recently coined a new phrase: ‘mediocre emergencies.’ Seth makes a good case, but I doubt George is thinking of that sort of mediocre emergency today.

Neither is John Uppersman, a Texas soldier blogging from Iraq after a recent mortar attack.
“All of those restless nights (back home, worrying about bills, the job, etc.) seem so trivial now that I almost start to laugh. I look at how most Iraqis live and realize that once I'm back home, I should sleep like a baby. I am blessed with the love of a wonderful woman. My children are all healthy, beautiful, and smart. I have great friends, a good job, and I live in a country that offers freedom and safety like none other in the world. What do I have to lose sleep over?”

Ask Thunder6, another soldier blogger, what he thinks is important today:
“You might think that against the backdrop of this war – a war that will determine the future of nations – everyday life would seem bland and unimportant. But you would be wrong. I’ve spent a hundred evenings dreaming about leaving work and coming home to my loving wife. The brightest part of my soul never made it to Iraq, it is back in California with my better half. And I do mean better half – every quality I possess she eclipses a thousand-fold. That’s why I married her. A year ago today. Happy Anniversary my love. You are my… everything.”

George has a classic way of ending long emails. I'll borrow it today:

"Sorry to be so wordy this morning, but as you know, words have power. I guess this means we’re full of it.”

When it comes to words, Paul probably said it best:

“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
(1 Cor 13, MSG)

Here's to Love, George and Adaire.