Today I saw a young Marine standing at parade rest, because that was how he was most comfortable. He was standing a ways off from the rest of the crowd, his eyes scanning, hoping to see a familiar face. It eluded him. The others around him were laughing and hugging, congratulations flying back and forth, everyone together reuniting. He stood alone.

Those of us who saw him wanted to just hug him. We were all moms of different ages, some of us new moms with toddlers playing in the grass and some of us having adult children living hours away. But either way, there was a tug in every mama’s heart.

I don’t know the back story. I don’t know why this young man was alone unexpectedly. But I know he didn’t want to be. None of us want to be. We want to be part of something. We want to belong. That’s why so many join the military. But even in the midst of being a part of something bigger than ourselves we can still be alone, feeling all the more the lonely for the crowd around us.

Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

Lord, help us to remember that You will never leave us nor forsake us. When I feel beaten up by the world and alone in the midst of the laughing crowd, remind me that, as your chosen one, You will always hold me in the palms of your nail scarred hands.

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