Go(ing to the) Army

It just became Sunday so… tonight(!) I will be heading to a hotel in downtown SJ, sleeping probably not very many hours, waking up and going to the MEPS to wait in lines in order to wait in other lines (ad infinitum), and eventually I will get bused over to the airport the fly to South Carolina, where the dry, cool, breezy southern spring weather will welcome me to Army Basic Combat Training.

For those who know me, but don’t know me well enough to know that I’ve joined the Army (yes I said the words, “I, Justin Hong, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend…”), this will come as somewhat of a surprise. In fact, even for myself, the possibility was unthinkable even just two years ago. But, alas, it is done and I am going. And what’s more, I’m excited! I don’t really have any idea what it will be like, or where I will be headed in six months, but I’m excited, and I’m confident and happy to be doing something that will inevitably teach me new things about myself and the world, whether I like it or not.

I am excited because I know that, while I may not necessarily need God more than I need Him now (when I’m comfortable I tend to forget), I will definitely know more and more often that I need Him, and I pray that my faith will grow in equal (or greater) measure as the uncertainty and difficulty with which I am faced.

I thank God that he has humbled me over the years, and though I wish he was done, that I was cured of that sickly pride once and for all, I know he isn’t finished. I know God made men to be far better and stronger and kinder and more loving that I am in my current state. And I am glad of that.

I thank God that he has kept me healthy, that he has made me strong, that over the years he has put me in places and with people who have helped me to run better, to love people better, to become a bit more self aware, to see my strengths and my struggles with more clarity, and in all things to prepare me for what was next.

And this time, what is next is the military.

I am excited because someone will be waking me up every morning, they will cook my meals, plan my workouts, teach me things whether I like it or not and tell me when to go to sleep. I am excited because being in the Army will be like high school all over again.

I am excited because I can already feel a deep and growing interest when I think about the men I may lead, and the men who may lead me. I want to meet them and know where they come from, who they are, why they became soldiers and what they want from life. I want to lead the men over whom I am placed with excellence and expertise, to earn their respect because I have come to earn my own. I am also fearful that I might fail them. That in my own impatience or pride I might close doors that God would have me keep open (as I have done so many times before), and sometimes the weight of it is difficult to bear, and I push the thoughts away, toward the future.

I am excited to serve my Country. When people ask why I joined this is the reason that is hardest to speak. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s cliche. Maybe because I’m not sure if I really believe it. But I think I do. I know in my heart and in my head that the Kingdom of God is what is Best. I know that our world will never be free of sin as long as men are free and God is patient. But I also believe that America is great. I believe that I owe my country a debt not easily repaid for the opportunities that it granted my family as well as the opportunities it continues to grant to me. I am sad that in a place so well known for tolerance it seems that one of the few things we are not allowed to say is that our country is great. I don’t think we do everything right, no one in their right mind believes that. But I love living here and I thank God for placing me where he has.

And even as I am excited, confident and happy, I am also sad to be leaving my home. I know as I leave, I am leaving behind a time and a place that will never exist in the same way again. I am already grieving what will be lost, in community, in jokes, in milkshake and in n out runs, in circuit and BDYG, in life in general (as an innumerable number of things are lost whenever a choice is made). And I get excited to the point that it makes my heart beat a bit faster just thinking about how good it will be when I come back to visit. Pray for me!

Friends, thank you for everything.

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~ by justinhong on June 16, 2013.

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