United States Army Specialist Lora Rondeau had gone through a number of significant changes in her life but never the sort of change experienced while on duty in Afghanistan. Her barracks buddies: a section leader, assistant squad leader and platoon sergeant were all killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while transporting medical supplies to a field hospital. Though not hurt physically, Specialist Rondeau asked the question: “Why not me, Lord? Why did they die?” She went for days feeling guilty and angry about surviving the attack. She was driven to tears during the unit’s formation and ceremony placing the three caskets on a military plane to return to their home towns for burial. Shortly after the ceremony, Specialist Rondeau was brought to her knees when she received another messages from her hometown.
“Specialist Rondeau, I have some news for you from the Red Cross,” said the Communications Officer. “The message is that your brother was killed in a car accident.”
Specialist Rondeau’s heart sank. “No! No! No! No!” she screamed in uncontrollable agony as she fell to the orderly room floor. Tears streamed down her face. No account of comforting words from empathetic unit member could soothe her pain.
An immediate order from her Battalion Commander released for return to the United States to be with family. With the help of unit members, Specialist Rondeau was on a plane within an hour.
While on the plane, Specialist Rondeau turned her anger towards God. “Lord, you took three of my best friends! Then You took my little brother. He was a great brother. Why did You do these things to me? Did I do something wrong? I know I am a sinner. But Lord, why, why? Lord I demand an answer!”
Exhausted from grief, Specialist Rondeau fell into a deep sleep. “Hey, Lora!” A voice said. “It’s me, Kyle, your brother! God heard your prayer. He sent me to talk to you. Lora, I’m okay, sis! Really! I’m in heaven with God. This place is great! It’s so wonderful, Lora! I know you want me to be happy and I am. You look stunned but I’ve been allowed to let you see and talk with me and to see what things look like in my new home.”
After they talked with each other for what seemed to be an hour, Kyle said: “Come on, sis, let’s look around!” He escorted his sister around his new place. “Oh, my!” she responded. “This place is beautiful!”
“This just a small portion of my place. There is a lot more to it but this is all I can should you.”
“Oh, my!” Specialist Rondeau said again.
“You see sis! This place is difficult to describe. There is no pain. Everyone you meet is happy. They laugh. They sing all of the time. And you know what? I’ve seen the Lord. So, if I’m given a choice, I want to stay here. I’ve never known happiness like this ever in my life on earth! As a matter of fact, this is less than one percent of my place.”
“My goodness!” Specialist Rondeau responded.
“Well, sis, it’s time for you and me to go. Sis, I will pray for you and everyone else and hope to see you someday when they time comes. Here, this is my special gift to you. It’s a little golden cross. When you look at this, know that I’m happy and have prayed for you. And let this remind you what you have to look forward to.” With that, Kyle vanished.
“Ma’am, we’ve arrived. It’s time to go” a member of the flight crew said.
“Gosh, that was a strange, wonderful dream. Still sadness weighed heavy on her mind until she stood up then opened her hand—a small, sparkling golden cross. At that moment, Specialist Rondeau’s sadness turned to joy, hope and promise.