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Stephen A. Peterson
Private Helen Combs was in her third week of Basic Training. Angry at her Drill Sergeants and the United States Army, Private Combs decided to leave the Army without talking to anyone about her troubles. While everyone in the barracks was asleep, Private Combs arose from her bunk then quietly walked out unseen by the guards. After walking aimlessly across a dark, grassy field, fatigue overtook her. Sitting down to catch her breath, she began crying unceasingly. She realized she had made a serious mistake.
There Private Combs sat in her self-imposed isolation, gazing up into the moonless night sky on a humid summer evening. She could hear and feel mosquitoes move in to make a meal of her despite efforts to keep them at bay. She was terribly uncomfortable but was too afraid to return to face a Drill Sergeant. She felt sorry for herself when she heard something disturb the silence of the evening. Raising her head, Private Combs saw a figure moving towards her. Before she could scream, she felt a hand grab her T-shirt followed by a “Be quiet” command.
It was Drill Sergeant Diane McCuellar. She had found Private Combs.
“Private Combs, come with me! Don’t make a sound. Don’t run or you might break an ankle or a leg.”
Drill Sergeant McCuellar had come for Private Combs. She was relieved and glad once she realized she did not know where nor did she know her way back to her barracks. She also came to know that she was within two feet of a ledge. If she would have fallen, the chances were very good that she would have suffered a severe injury maybe even death.
Following her discussion with the Drill Sergeant, Private Combs agreed to never walk away from her unit and talk over problems with a Drill Sergeant, Chaplain or a member of the counseling staff. Private Combs completed her Basic Training as the “Outstanding Soldier of the Training Cycle”.
The next time a problem or problems arise in your life or you feel lost, think you are alone, and think of Private Combs. Do not be afraid. Pause, let down the barriers that separate you from God and others then wait for His presence. Wait for His outstretched hands to welcome you back to His house. No matter the evil or how long you’ve been away, He will find you, listen to you and take your back. You will be at ease, thankful and comforted.
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