“How sweet it is!” shouted Army Staff Sergeant Sean O’Malley. After he and his friend Army Sergeant (E-5) Dirk Applebaum walked back to their tent following a soccer game with 3rd Platoon. Just twenty minutes before, Staff Sergeant O’Malley scored the winning goal for his platoon.
As both soldiers cleaned up to prepare themselves for their evening meal, Staff Sergeant O’Malley spoke up: You know Dirk, you remind me of my younger brother. He was a really great kid.”
“What do you mean ‘was’ Sean?”
“My little brother was killed when he was hit by a drunk driver as he was chasing after a baseball I had tossed him. Me, my brother and dad were just tossing a ball around and having some fun. This woman was determined to be traveling at speeds around 40-45 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. My dad and I ran over to try to help him as my dad called for an ambulance. As I put a blanket on him to keep him warm, my little brother asked me: ‘Sean, I’m going to see Jesus now! Sweet!!!’ then he just died. I didn’t know what to make of what he had said until I had time to think about it.”
Sergeant Applebaum just sat on his chair unable to say anything. When Sergeant Applebaum looked in the Staff Sergeant’s eyes, they were clear and without a glimmer of sadness or anger. So as not to appear uninterested, Sergeant Applebaum asked: “So how do I remind you of your little brother?”
“You remind me of my brother, because you both look at life as ‘sweet’, live life to the fullest, and he loved God just like you do. So I’m trying to do the same. I’ve learned that there is something sweet about each and every day. I’m alive. And he’s alive. He’s more alive than either one of us. I can’t see him but I know he’s here watching me. I believe also that you are something of a spokesman because you’re so much like he was.”
“Are you okay, Sean?”
“I’m okay. I don’t even hate the woman that killed him. I pray for her everyday, if you can believe that.”
“Sure, I can believe that!”
Staff Sergeant O’Malley and Sergeant Applebaum went their separate ways once they returned from military duty in Iraq. During a quiet moment at his civilian job, private citizen Applebaum recalled what Staff Sergeant O’Malley had said.
The scenario between two soldiers should remind us of Jesus’ message. When one sincerely believes all that Jesus Christ taught us and follow through with action, our influence will tell us and others that everything, no matter how bad things seem, will actually be alright. So then it will be possible to say under any circumstance that life is indeed “sweet” when Jesus become the center of life.