I am not a big movie go-er. I would rather read a book with my time instead. In fact, most of the recent movies I have seen have been based on some of my favorite books: The Giver, Divergent, The Fault In our Stars. But my husband loves movies. Bang bang shoot em up movies to be exact. So when “American Sniper” came out I had no interest in going. The last war movie I saw was “Saving Private Ryan”—I know I am dating myself, but I just can’t watch those war movies. I get so emotional, and I truly can’t think or sleep for days. I get traumatized. I have friends, dear friends, who serve our country in the military, and I know that Hollywood can’t do their experiences much justice, but at least it gives the regular Joe in America a little taste of their journey. But here is the reality—unless we are a soldier or a soldier’s wife or kid, we just don’t understand. It is the same as some of the other happenings going on in the world today—I am not a black person who lives in Fergusen, I am not a police officer’s wife, I am not a Muslim living in America being shunned because of my religion. I am NOT—so I can never really know or understand because I am not in that space.
So as I continue in this blog tonight, I want to remind my readers that I try my best to avoid controversy in my posts. For those who follow me regularly, you know that I am straight in your face about my faith and about Jesus, but I respect those who don’t have my same faith. I still write my blog to inspire and instill hope in all situations.
But I want to saw a few things about this movie, and I promise I won’t be a spoiler for any one. First, I went to this movie totally ignorant. All I knew was that it was based on a true story--the memoirs of a sniper. That is it. I had never heard of Chris Kyle before this and I didn’t know the story of his life, his family, or his tours in the Iraqi war. All I knew was that people were saying it is a “must see” movie, and then I heard the controversial comments from various reviewers and politicians and actors and directors.
So when my hubby wanted a date night out and we got to go out with some of our best friends, and a bucket of popcorn with butter was in the picture, I said yes I would go. I knew I would have to close my eyes through half the movie and I figured I would jump in my seat and scream out a few times (which I did) and for those of you who have been to the movies with me, you know I am quite animated when I watch movies.
The movie is Hollywood, but the story was amazing. Whatever your thoughts on war or snipers, or what tactics the military uses, the reality is that men and women fight for our country and for the freedoms we believe in. This story focuses on Chris Kyle and his family and friends. It focuses on his emotions, and his battles (emotional, spiritual, and physical). The movie itself was expertly directed. To watch Bradley Cooper and stare into his eyes (THOSE eyes), and to see how he depicted the deep emotions of a soldier, was, to me, beautiful and heart wrenching. I also thought they did a good job of depicting the people in Iraq—the good, the innocent, as well as the soldiers on the “other side”.
In this post, I just want to give a shout out to my friends who serve in the military. I have had to say good bye to many of them as they have gone on deployment, as they have moved to different states every three or four years, as they have had to start over with their children in new schools and new neighborhoods. I am blessed that I have been able to keep in touch with many of them, that I am still part of their lives, that we get to see each other on visits. But I don’t know everything they go through. I know that my friends who are officers have been away while their babies have taken first steps; I know that my friends who are wives have had to “do it all” while their husbands are away for anywhere from three months to over a year—and over and over again. I know that their kids have been resilient and strong as they have had to move schools and meet new friends and start over-- again and again. I am proud to have these families as friends.
I don’t know what emotions, scars, fears, anxieties these soldiers that are my friends really have inside of them. But I do know that these men and women who are soldiers in my life all know Jesus. And I know that they rely on His strength as they go on deployment and out on tours. I know that their wives and kids, and their parents have friends who pray for them and support them.
I will never know what they deal with, and a movie like American Sniper only gives me a tiny glimpse (even if flawed by Hollywood) of their experiences. But I do know that a Navy Seal who is a sniper is not a coward, even if people choose to use those terms. And I know that all Muslims are not “savages” even if people choose to use that term. When we view things and read things, we need to try to understand where people are coming from, and if we have never been in that place, we will never, ever really know.
Instead of judging and condemning, let’s celebrate our soldiers. Let’s give them respect even if we don’t believe in all the policies of our current government. Let’s look at them and their families as human beings with hearts and souls.
I for one, am so proud of my friends and their wives who serve in the military and I will stand for them and support them for all they do for me and for our country. I salute you my friends.