On June 6, 1944, many thousands of men thundered up heavily fortified beaches in France during the Allies’ Operation Overlord effort to turn the tide of World War II.
While the D-Day Invasion succeeded, thousands of men lost their lives. Some sank to the depths immediately, cut down as soon as they hit the roaring surf. Others made it to the beaches only to fall in combat with Axis soldiers.
Perhaps a more harrowing fate belonged to those caught in between, the ones whose feet felt the sandy shore before suffering wounds that left them gasping for breath as the rising tide approached, drawing nearer with each heave of the ocean.
Fallen comrades, wounded farther up the beach, watched helplessly as their brothers in arms drowned in the tide, devoured slowly by the oncoming waves.
I’ve seen death. I’ve watched it snatch children from their parents, friends from their loved ones and would-be survivors from their intending rescuers. But I’ve never faced it.
So I can’t say with any certainty which of the wounded soldiers’ positions was actually the worst, in examination of their situation on that D-Day Invasion. But I do know which soldier I envy least, which fate I would dread most: the wounded warrior cut down, listening helplessly as his friends drowned nearby, crying for help he could not administer.
As a goal-oriented individual, I develop a plan A, B and C for almost every scenario. A former Girl Scout, I’m always prepared.
Any workload seems manageable, no task looms too daunting and no curve ball careens too crazily, as long as one has a plan.
When I began planning for life after ACU, those plans became scarily ambiguous. When people asked where I would go and what I would do after graduation, I wasn’t even sure which continent to tell them.
As a planner, the multitude of variables began to tie my insides in a knot of nerves.
An evening with friends finally calmed me down. They reminded me that wherever I went, life could be good – whatever I did, I could be fulfilled.
And then I remembered the most crucial aspect of any of my plans: God. And the way I see it, no matter how detailed my plans, I’m not big enough to derail his.
Heaven forbid, we ever find ourselves actually stranded on a beach, offering our mortality for the safety and peace of man.
But the sacrifice of those who did serves as a constant reminder that at some point in life, we all will feel helpless to some extent.
And when the waves roll in and I find myself or those I love floundering, I’m glad my plans aren’t the last defense.