Yellow Ribbons and Blue Baby Cribs

The sky is clear blue with only a few wisps of white cloud. The sun, as always in El Paso, is a warm yellow, making it all in all a lovely day. I’m sitting in the courtyard outside the front of Amy’s parents’ house reflecting on our time here over spring break. We’ll be leaving in less than an hour, and for some reason, leaving El Paso has always been difficult for me. After spending most of my life moving around with the military, El Paso was the first place my family lived for more than four years. It’s where I graduated from high school, where I made some of my best friends, where I met my wife. And throw in the always warm sun, always blue skies, the strong brown mountain, and I think it’s also the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be moving back anytime soon. This past Wednesday, Amy and I went house hunting, and found that the housing we could afford on one income (after the baby is born) isn’t quite as lovely as the scenery.

When we got home that night, Amy’s parents ransacked the garage and found her old baby crib. After we got it assembled, It was in remarkably good shape considering it had spent the past twenty some years in the garage. Well, all except for the tooth marks from where Amy had chewed on it–she’d kill me if she read this. We wanted to check it out to see if we could use it and save some money over a new one. Except for the sentimental value, though, I don’t think either of us really fell in love with it–and we still have one or two options to look into on the crib front. It was painted a light baby blue color that reminded me of the El Paso sky, though…

As I sit here this morning, my attention is drawn to the front gateway of the couryard, where Amy’s mother has tied two yellow ribbons to the black, cast-iron gate, and where an American flag flies proudly over the courtyard wall. The yellow ribbons and the flag are in honor of Amy’s brother, my brother-in-law, Shelby Sawyer, who is a soldier in the US Army. Shelby was deployed to Iraq earlier this week, and I think it’s been a difficult time for Amy and her parents. On one hand, they celebrate as we prepare to welcome our new life into the world. On the other, they are sending their own son and brother into harm’s way–a reminder of what kind of world we welcome our child into, as well as the price at which our lives are protected.

The wind is blowing gently through the courtyard, now. The flag and the yellow ribbons rustle in the breeze. I think of the blue baby crib inside the house and what it represents. Shelby will most likely still be in Iraq this September when our baby, his nephew, comes into the world. The yellow sun still shines against the blue sky, on this beautiful El Paso morning. May it shine as brightly, as beautifully there until God brings Shelby Sawyer safely home to his family.


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