Be a Wingman – Napalm in the Morning

“You never know what battles people are facing. Be kind.” – anonymous

You ever watch the movie, Apocalypse Now? There’s a scene in the movie where the soldiers on the ground are taking heavy fire down by the river. It’s chaos. There’s yelling and gunshots everywhere and the commander gets on the coms and radios back to someone and pretty soon the scene shifts to some bomber planes off in the distance just moving in on the scene and they light up the enemy’s encampment with a huge wall of fire. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

In life, we have a pivotal moment.

We can see a friend in need taking a beating from life and we can choose to do one of 2 things: we can come in hot and heavy for them and bring the heat or we can choose to be silent.

“Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”

You never know what battles a person may be facing in their life. In the TV show, Unbelievable, we see someone named Marie who was assaulted and chooses to tell the truth of what happened to her. She is then hit by doubt from police officers, doubt and mistrust from those closest to her, and begins to falter in life through failed jobs and failed opportunities and through internal sadness and depression.

You see, there are 2 parts to trauma.

First there is the initial battle we face in life. There is the first shock to our senses and our system. But the second shock and a shock I would argue is actually worse than death, is betrayal.

What is betrayal?

Betrayal is when we are taking heavy fire and we radio back on the coms for help and no one comes to our aid. We are not believed. We are ignored. We are told to be silent. We cannot speak our truth. We are isolated. We are mistreated. We are told to just keep going as if the betrayal wasn’t a giant knife wound straight to our heart making us question everything about our existence and our value to others and our trust.

The second level of trauma is a fate far worse than death because nothing breaks like a heart. It will take years upon years to heal this second part for the individual.

Go watch The Passion of Christ. Watch the moment, the worst moment in the movie.

It is the most sorrowful one.

It is not the actual death on the cross. It is not the scourging at the pillar. It is not the walk towards the end.

It is when Peter denies Jesus three times.

Jesus is standing before the tribunal. He finally speaks his truth knowing full well it will lead to a very painful death. Immediately, the crowd bears down on him, yelling and slandering and smacking him around till he falls to the ground. But it is not the crowd that has Jesus’ attention in that moment.

It is Peter.

Jesus takes the hits and the hits keep coming. He is bloodied and bruised and on his knees when Peter, remaining silent, hides a bit in the corner and people approach Peter not once but 3 times and say, “Aren’t you his closest friend?”

Peter gets scared. He doesn’t want the crowd to turn on him.

He says no. He is fearful.

On the third no, that is the sorrowful moment. Jesus is knocked to his knees, we think by the pummels of the crowd, but no, by the betrayal of a person he loved. He turns so slightly and looks Peter right in the eye, even as he continues to take the hits and that is the saddest part in the whole movie.

JF Kennedy’s wife was interviewed once. They asked her, “What is the best trait a woman can have as a wife?” The First Lady’s answer was loyalty. Now, think about that for a moment. Think about all the stories about JFK and Marilyn Monroe and all that and yet that still was the answer…..loyalty.

If that wasn’t the definition of a wingman, I don’t know what else is.

Sometimes we can get hurt, really hurt, by our friends and family. They can do god awful things to us. But, to come in hot, to bring the heat, to lay down a row of napalm on their life’s enemies whether physical or mental, there is no nobler thing for a soul to do on this planet.

Be a coward. Be silent. Be in the corner.

Or bring the heat.

It’s your choice really.

Me, I’d prefer to try to be a wingman. When I go to my maker and I’m asked what did I do, I can reply with all honesty, I did my best when the moment came. I went to bat for my friend, despite our differences, despite our internal arguments, etc. When the moment came, I did not shirk my responsibility to them.

We all make mistakes. We all have times in our life when we could have been better to others. But to have awareness and to not lend aid, that is a nearly unforgivable offense to another’s soul. You may not be able to do much. But if you can do even a little, it is far better than doing nothing at all.

For remember, your friend is not watching the crowd, they are watching you. When we go out on a limb, when we speak our truth out loud, we are more vulnerable in that moment than any other time. And to betray someone in their darkest hour is a far worse act than the brutality of enemies and villains.

What do we love about the story of the Red Baron? He was a dogfighter. Think of a dog. What is the best trait of a dog. Loyalty. Devotion. He’d drop outta the sky, outta the clouds, and start gunning the tail end of some bad guy blazing up and trailing his friends in the sky….one of the best wingmen that ever lived. To be a wingman is to have honor.

My grandfather died an honorable death. He was surrounded by friends and family and the military came to pay him tribute at the funeral. You see, my grandfather was the very definition of a wingman himself. At Wendling Air Station during WWII, his job was a mechanic chief to bomber planes. They’d fly out during the day on their bombing raids over Europe and at night, he and his crew would repair their planes all night long, refueling, and fixing bullet holes in the sides of the plane.

That’s what a friend does. It may not be the best job. It’s more like being Samwise than Frodo. But without Samwise, where would Frodo be?

I started donating monthly to St. Jude’s. Its a place where kids battle cancer. They sent me a letter and asked me to send 1 kid a holiday card. This Saturday, my husband and I were working up Christmas gift list and budgets. I asked him for 50 bucks to send some more cards to St. Jude’s.

You see, years ago…I was really sick and in a hospital. A friend sent me a card. In the card were just a few messages of hope and some biblical quotes. To this day…I remember, “We can do all things through our creator who strengthens us.” And I remember “For I know the plans for you…to give you a future and a hope.”

Sometimes being a friend is not really the napalm. It’s the little things that keep us going in life’s battles. Being someone’s wingman in a clutch moment…it’s a very good thing to be.

Prayers vs. Pandemic

Here are some great and easy YouTube videos to follow to assist you in praying for loved ones during the pandemic. DailyEffectivePrayer has many short and easy-to-follow prayers that you can use. They are usually about 4 minutes long each. These are just a few of the collection. Consider your own loved ones. Does one of these categories fit that loved one? Then click on the link below and just listen and follow along with the words.

At this time, I also like these 3 prayers. The first is Psalm 91, a protection prayer against pestilence that is the exact opposite number of COVID-19. According to some videos regarding Psalm 91, the words in Hebrew have many symbols over the tops of the letters. This is supposed to mean this is a very strong spiritual warfare prayer for your family. The second video is a short hedge of protection prayer. In the biblical story of Job, a special hedge of protection surrounded Job and kept him from harm. The third video is a longer prayer but talks about pleading the blood of the lamb over your family during the pandemic. It draws from the Passover story of the Israelites.

Rejection is Just Redirection

Have you ever experienced an online troll?  What about a “hater” or even a “group of haters”? 

(By the way, this is a great song about the whole “haters gon’ hate” vibe.  To go off on a short tangent, I really love this song.)

What about someone in your environment who, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get them to treat you right?  Or maybe just someone or something that leaves you drained?    

Here’s some simple tips:

  1.  Take time out for you and practice self-care/self-love. 
  2. Be wise to the negative behaviors of others but hold yourself to a higher standard and do not stoop to that level. 

“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves, so be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16.

  • “Do not cast your pearls before swine.”  Matthew 7:6.  This is not to say that other people are necessarily bad.  Perhaps they are not at a point in their lives that they are willing and able to receive you with love and respect.  If this is so, do not waste your energy and time trying to prove your worth to them.  Life is short and precious, it should not be wasted continually trying to be perfect for someone else’s expectations of you.  Make your own expectations.  Meet your own goals.  Dress the way you want.  Think the way you want.   You are not unworthy.  You are enough.  They just fail to see the treasure that you are, even if you may appear to be a diamond in the rough.  Remember, in this life, we do not know who God treasures either.  Some people would be the least you would expect.  Treat people fairly and stand up for yourself when you feel in your heart that you are not being treated fairly by others. 
  • Let go of bitterness and get your spirit back.  Bounce back from hardship like you’re Walter Payton.  This is extremely hard.  First, learn to take the L.  Second, learn to forgive.  Third, vow to not let the pattern repeat itself.  Respect yourself enough not to allow it to happen again.  Fourth, understand that what others meant for your harm, God may have intended for your good.  This is called providence.  It was providence that made Joseph a powerful influence in Egypt to prevent the famines despite all he went through.  Providence worked in his life and it works in your life too.  It’s just hard to see when you’re in the trenches.   You just got to believe.  Sometimes, though, we pray and pray and pray on something and it still doesn’t happen.  That’s another life lesson right there.  The failure, the rejection, the divorce, the bad grades, the whatever is going on in your life…..it is teaching you to first lean not on your own understanding of things but on a spirituality, and second, it is teaching you to love yourself.  The full and total rejection moment will teach you to find value in you, to regain your self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth.  Remember as Rocky says in this short motivational speech, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.  It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.  You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.  But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit.   It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

 Keep moving forward towards your goals.  If you have to, start very small.  Work on your hygiene first.  Work on the way you dress.  Work on your hair, make-up, style, etc.  Go back to the gym or church or wherever you find positive vibes and happiness from meeting goals.  Don’t let others tell you not to do these things.  Do them because you need to do them to improve your self-esteem.   Raise that bar first and then move out from there to your surroundings and your interactions with others.  Begin, at the same time, to strip away that which does not serve you.  Are there behaviors or traits you have taken on that are not good?  Substance abuse problems?  Addictions?  Unhealthy habits?  What about people you interact with that wear you down?  Begin to set boundaries not just with certain people but with things you do throughout the day.  Ask yourself, do I really want to do this thing or is this something I am doing because so-and-so wants me to do it?  Once again, this comes back to self-love and self-respect.  It is not selfish to say no.  It is awareness that you need to raise the bar on your self-esteem/self-worth.  Likewise, choosing to not date certain people or hang out with certain folks that bring you down…..that is not arrogance but self-awareness that you need to protect your energy.  Your energy is vital to your overall health and success.  So start small.  Take the baby steps which can turn in to bigger steps down the road. 

These are the things I am telling myself now.  I too have faced a personal setback and I am re-learning this now.  It is a thing I have to continually re-learn painfully.  You would think I would get it the first time but no, I keep having to re-hash it over and over as I believe a lot of people do.  One thing that really helps me is YouTube.  Here’s some video advice from folks way, way, way smarter than me about how to do it.  The first three videos are about self-love.  The fourth is Maya Angelou reciting, And Still I Rise.  The two other videos are inspirational pastor sermons.  These are my two favorite sermons of all time that I must admit, I have to go back to again and again when “my chips are low” and I feel myself entering that defeated mindset mode.  I highly, highly recommend watching these sermons!  However, they are each long but packed with valuable info.  I hope that you like these videos too (please share with me as well, any videos you think would help me) and remember that whatever I am going through and whatever you are going through, we are in this together and you are enough, you are valuable, you are worthy.  Think like Walter Payton and bounce yourself back up.  Let’s get to it!    

The Trumpet

These are passages of the Bible that are important to read at this time. Notice the similarities in numbers among some of the passages:

Exodus 12: 12-13

Psalm 91

Deuteronomy 30-19

Joshua 7: 10-12

Job 1:9

Romans 10:9

2 Chronicles 7:13-22

Ezekiel 33:1-6

Notice the repeat of the numbers. For example 91, 10:9, and 1:9 = variations of 19. Also, several of the texts have the number 3 repeated which is mentioned later in this piece.

Exodus 12:12-13 speaks of the Passover and the Blood of the Lamb. “I will pass through the Land of Egypt at night and strike every firstborn male in the Land of Egypt, both man and beast. I am Yahweh; I will execute judgements against the Gods of Egypt. The blood on the houses where you are staying will be the distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 30:19 uses the numbers 3 and 19 again. It is Moses’ message to the Isrealites. ” I call heaven and Earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”

Joshua 7: 10-12 refers to the Israelite defeat against Ai and explains why according to the Lord. ” The Lord then said to Joshua, “Stand up, why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put the things with their belongings. This is why the Isrealites can not stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs and run from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what was set apart.”

2 Chronicles 7: 13-22 is the discussion between wise Solomon and God about the temple. “If I close the sky so there is no rain, of if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send the pestilence on My people and My people who are called by my name humble themselves and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. My eyes will now be open and my ears attentive to prayer from this place. And I have now chosen and consecrated this temple so that My name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there at all times. As for you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, doing everything I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and my ordinances, I will establish your royal throne, as I promised your father David. You will never fail to have a man ruling in Israel. However, if you turn away and abandon My statues and My commands that I have set before you and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from the soil I gave them, and this temple I have sanctified for My name I will banish from my presence. I will make it an object of scorn and ridicule among all the peoples. As for this temple, which was exalted, everyone who passes by will be appalled and will say, “Why did the Lord do this to the land and to this temple? Then they will say, “Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They clung to other gods and worshiped and served them. Because of this, he brought all this ruin on them.”

Job 1:9 explains God’s hedge of protection. Without the hedge, Job is tested. “Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t you placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, his possessions, and increased the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job needed the hedge of protection.

Psalm 91 is a spiritual warfare prayer against pestilence. It also uses the numbers of 1 and 9 as does Job1:9.

Ezekiel 33:1-6 is a message for the watchmen, those who discern these words of wisdom. “The word of the Lord came to me, Son of Man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands. If he had taken the warning, he would have saved his life. However, if the watchman see the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet, so that the people are warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.”

Romans 10:9 is a final message once again using the numbers 1 and 9. It is also called the Sinner’s Prayer. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Conclusion to this message, these are very important:

Job 1:9 = pray for a hedge of protection around your family.

Psalm 91 = prayer against the pestilence, “the plague that stalks in darkness.”

Romans 10:9 = pray the sinner’s prayer. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

All of these use the numbers 1 and 9 as does COVID-19.

Passover = pray for the blood of Jesus to cover your loved ones.