Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Code Purple

Once upon a time, there were two Army wives named Heather and Gayle. Gayle was a seasoned Army wife and the mother of a newly enlisted soldier. She was well versed in the ways of the military and had an amazing relationship with both her husband and her son. Heather was a brand new Army wife, a young mother of 3 small children, and was filled with both anxiety and an adventuresome spirit. She was struggling in her relationship with her husband and clinging onto God. Heather and Gayle met at church and became quick friends, sisters and Gayle became a mentor to Heather in more ways than she could count. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship… and the foundation of what became known to them as “Code Purple”.
As Gayle’s son went to Iraq during OIF I, Heather’s husband was going through Basic Training and AIT. Gayle would call Heather with urgent prayer requests from overseas. Heather would call Gayle crying with questions about DEERS and asking for interpretations of acronyms and Army jargon that she couldn’t understand. Sunday after Sunday they met at the altar at church, held hands and shed their tears together for the soldiers they loved. They prayed for their safety, for their integrity, for their hearts. They cried and they prayed and they cried and they prayed. And then it happened. Gayle cried “Code Purple”. Code Purple became a term understood by both of these women to mean, “I’m beyond tears. I need help.” For Gayle, it meant she needed egg salad. Now, don’t ask me what it is about Gayle’s obsession with Heather’s egg salad, but the woman loved it. It was her very favorite comfort food. And one day, while her son was away at war, when the battle was fierce and that momma’s heart was breaking, Gayle cried “Code Purple” and Heather rushed over with egg salad. Later on down the road, as Heather saw her marriage slipping through her fingers and her husband turning from God, Heather cried “Code Purple” and Gayle rushed to her with hugs… and chocolate. These women learned what it would take to get each other through.
Six years later, Heather and Gayle have seen each other through a number of trials. Both of Gayle’s sons are now serving in the Army and currently serving on separate continents. Heather’s marriage did end and she’s remarried to an amazing Christian man and soldier, and is now the mother of 5 children. Over the past six years they’ve cried tears of joy together and shed tears of pain for each other. Yesterday, they saw each other for the first time in months as they celebrated the marriage of a mutual friend and fellow soldier. As Gayle and Heather hugged and reminisced, Heather presented Gayle with a bowl of egg salad. Gayle’s reaction surprised Heather as she burst into tears at the sight of the gift. But now, after a time of reflection, Heather is also overwhelmed. Egg salad is quite small. A hug is a small token of affection. But the kind of friendship that gets you through having a son at war and a husband that is running away… well, that is a gift of great importance and immeasurable value. That kind of gift can only come from a heavenly Father that knows the needs of our heart.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

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