As a young bride from the Midwestern United States, I never imagined that one day I’d find myself living overseas in a military compound, but that’s what happened. My new husband, a US naval officer, was stationed in the Philippines soon after we were married, and I joined him months later on the naval base.
We had been warned against driving our vehicle off the base, but my husband thought a quick trip to Manila wouldn’t be a problem. He’d dismissed rumors about US personnel being detained or captured off the base as hearsay. We soon realized how naive this was. The Vietnam War was in progress, and the Philippines was on the verge of martial law. Americans were barely tolerated, and were sometimes shot at.
As our vehicle approached a checkpoint on the dirt road, a gate came down blocking our way forward. My husband was taken out of our car by Filipino military soldiers into a small hut. Sitting alone in our car by the roadside, waiting for news of our circumstances, I began to pray. I’d recently been cherishing the simplicity and power of the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father,” which indicate the inclusive nature of God’s mothering and fathering love, and the brotherhood and sisterhood of God’s children. I knew it was impossible for anyone to be left outside the strong, gentle, enfolding arms of our universal Parent—divine Love.