Each soldier has a different story, one that I am not privileged to know. From what I could tell, they all were happy to be home or close to home. All seemed grateful for the welcome...but not all knew how to accept it. For some is was obvious that they were overwhelmed either with awe or a bit of fear.
I didn't know how I would respond. I was very glad to be a part of the moment, and to honor those who serve our country. The major feeling was celebration...these soldiers were safe. I was honored to be a part of celebrating their safety, service and sacrifice.
As I reflect on this experience I can't help but think that this was a taste of what happens every day as believers are welcomed into heaven. I don't know what really takes place when we pass from this life to our heavenly one, but I can imagine. I imagine that those who have gone before us are all gathered. I hope, as Randy Alcorn has suggested, that our loved ones are front and center of the welcoming committee. The relationships that the Lord placed us in on earth, fully realized in heaven. I imagine that those that were a part of the same mission in life, being second in line. The crowds gathered, many we have never known.
I wonder whose reaction I will replicate in heaven. Will I be so overcome with the transition and the stark contrast along with my own unworthiness that I don't know how to accept it all? Or will I stand in awe and say 'WOW!', taking it all in? I don't know. What I do know is that Jesus will be there. Regardless of my reaction He will reach out to me. He will help me make the transition from the war zone to home.