The sun was at high noon and burning. I was in the middle of another mission, surrounded by sand. My six-wheel, all-terrain jeep had lost a tire, which meant that five wheels were performing the work intended for six. This situation made travel in the sand slower.
As best I could, I tried to rearrange the equipment to take the weight off of the weak side of the vehicle. I was trying desperately to get back to my command center before the call from my superiors came demanding that I return to base. I knew it was coming, and my peers knew it was coming, because it always did. It was like clock work. We were a tight-knit crew. When we weren’t at war, we were in the field preparing for war.
As I pulled into the command center, I quickly surveyed the area. I noticed men at their duties stations and a zip line attached to the pole just beyond the command center. I assumed Joe had used it, but right as I was briefing him, the call that I was expecting came. The look on my peers faces was palpable.
Their countenance only reflected what my heart felt. I did not want to go. I wanted to stay and see the mission through to completion. But headquarters felt I had been in the field for too long, and they wanted me to come back for R and R.
I gathered what I could as quickly as I could, and the rest I left behind. It would be unwise to delay reporting in when requested. When they said, “Jump,” the correct response was, “How high?” It was a chain of command that you dared not mess with.
Once I reached base, I reported to my superiors front and center. When I entered the room they barely acknowledged me, preferring instead to have me stand in silence.
“May I say something?” I asked.
This request got their attention, and no longer was I ignored.
“I have been thinking about this for a long time,” I said. “I don’t think that it is fair that every time I am in the middle of something, I get a call from one of you telling me to come home. I am too big to continue having to come home for a daily nap.”
It was if the air left the room.
Mom looked at Dad, Dad looked a Mom, and then they both looked at me. I waited for their combined wrath. I had never before questioned their authority. I was in unchartered waters and I knew it.
Finally, my dad spoke.
“Well, go on back outside and continue playing.”
At that moment I might have been blue for all I know, because it wasn’t until I exhaled that I realized that I had not been breathing.
The speed of my ear-to-ear smile was only matched by my running feet. I sprinted to the door before they could change their minds. To be honest, I thought they would change their minds. I thought my mother’s arm would stretch down the stairs around the corner and pull me back inside the house for a spanking and a nap. With that image in mind I ran as fast as I could. The arm never came, and I returned to the sand box to continue playing G.I. Joe with my friends.
The day that I got up enough nerve to tell my parents I was too big to take naps was a good day. Once it was over and my request granted, I wondered why it had taken me so long to ask in the first place.
The scriptures state, “You have not because you ask not.” That’s a lesson it took many abort adventures for me to understand.