Day after day the same thing … rise early, formation, breakfast, classes, football practice, dinner, duties, study hall, taps. That’s the daily grind if you are a Plebe football player at West Point. You must wear your uniform everywhere – even to walk down the hall to the bathroom – and you aren’t allowed to talk when you are outside your room. Even the seemingly trivial tasks of taking out the garbage require major effort and coordination. After a while, the grind starts to get to you. Then, you hear some of the most cherished words ever spoken at West Point: non-chargeable pass for a 3 day weekend for everyone in good standing. This is your chance to get a break, to get out of dodge, to see some friends and family, and to act “normal” just for a few days. But, there’s one snag – you are a football player and the practices, meetings, and schedules don’t change even if it is a 3 day pass weekend. That’s when you call your mom!
I got that call on a Saturday afternoon. Tim and I spent an hour on the phone talking with Alex through various scenarios for him to use at least part of the weekend pass. Of course, when you have no car, no regular clothes, no friends in the same boat, and are too probably too young to rent a car or a hotel room, you have a problem. During our conversation, we came up with several options – honestly, all of them required divine intervention to work out, so we went to our knees in prayer. For several days, I laid the situation before the throne of our mighty God and asked Him to work out the details and show us which option was best.
Initially, we thought Alex might have a friend meet him in New York City for a night, but train tickets and hotels were very expensive – But God had a better plan. Then, it seemed that Tim and I might fly to West Point and take him away for parts of the weekend – of course, a hurricane was coming our way and we never would have been able to fly out – But God had a better plan. Next, we tried having him rent a car through West Point to drive to see a friend at Brown University. He was able to rent the car with a premium for being an under 25 driver, but I must admit my heart was a little anxious about him making that 3.5 hour drive alone in unchartered territory – But God had a better plan. On Thursday evening, we evacuated to Statesboro in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew. After dinner, a familiar ring tone sounded – It was Reveille, Alex’s ringtone – unusual since he normally doesn’t have time to call during the week. His voice was excited and he asked if we could come to Durham, NC on Saturday because he had just found out that he made the travel team for that week’s game against Duke.
Now, for you non-football folks, this may require a bit of explanation. Just because you are on the team doesn’t mean that you go to all the games or even dress out for the home games. The NCAA limits the number of players who can travel with the football team and officially be part of the roster. Army revises its travel roster each week based on injuries and needs. Alex had not traveled to the other away games,so he didn’t think he would be traveling for this one either – But God had a better plan. Of all the options, this one was the least likely, yet the most desirable, and God worked to make it happen. Once again, this mama’s prayers were answered according to God’s perfect will and it was more that I could have asked or imagined!
The grind … it’s still there, but God showed his loving care to a cadet who needed a little break and He did it in a spectacular way to remind Alex that He will never leave or forsake him, no matter what! With a grateful heart for another GodSTOP… this mama continues on her knees!