I've been so many other things over the years. Doing this to get that. But always in ways that could benefit me, my family or our future. And that's come with mixed results. I've done some neat things (taken each of my children to a sporting event and gotten them on the sidelines)......met some interesting people (Paul Harvey, Gerald Ford, Shawn Johnson, Mike Ditka and Ed Thomas).....and traveled to some nice places (Jamaica and Soviet Union). In every instance, it was about me. Soaking up the moment, somewhat prideful me. But I've changed. I've changed because it's time to.
Let me tell you a story about a little boy named Jake. That's what he's remembered by, Jake. No last name is needed. Jake, contracted encephalitis and died several years ago, tragically . He started feeling punky one day, lethargic, then began running a fever. No one knew what was happening. Doctors were stumped. His parents became frantic. He got sicker and sicker...until he passed away in his mother's arms. In a span of 72 hours, Jake went from a healthy, bouncing, fun-loving boy....to the end of life.
His mother, wrote a letter several days after he passed and thanked everyone for their support. The letter was written so eloquently. It described so much in a short amount of space, but it hit home. It told of their families knowledge that Jake was their "gift" and that even though they selfishly wanted him longer, they knew God had a plan. I'm sure Jake's mother had help in writing that letter. How could she not? And I don't mean the help came from anyone here on earth. I couldn't imagine losing a child, let alone putting my thoughts down on paper so soon after burying him.
I tell you about Jake because his name lives on. Each Holy Spirit Retreat at Lutheran Church of Hope's Alpha class, this story is told. You couldn't hear a feather drop during Jake's Story. That's the effect little Jake has. Yes, his name lives on, and on, and on. He is impacting lives because of his death.
Several months ago, over 3,500 Iowa soldiers began their deployment to Afghanistan. The send-offs were magnificent. They captured the essence of the day. The pride, the dedication and the duty. Every location defined patriotism. It was a feel good moment, at least up until the time the busses left the parking lot. Then the worries set in. The next nine months are going to be difficult times. Where will the strength come from to endure? How will family and friends cope?
Yes, this important time dictates some important measures. I certainly feel that prayer is at the head of that list. Anything else comes in a distant second. We need to pray for these 3,500. Pray for anything you can for them. For their families, their strength....and foremost, their safety. Pray, pray, pray. Because "Prayer Changes Everything". Our state could use some direction and prayer too. Perhaps the way we support our troops and conduct ourselves will be a carbon copy other states adopt.
|A road sign on the outskirts of Des Moines says it all.|
If, and I said, if,...... not when, one of the 3,500 Iowa Soldiers is killed in action, how will they be remembered? Will it be through a series of features on the TV or radio......an article in the newspaper? How will that person, the one fighting for your "freedom" be recollected?
I am not underscoring all of the the memorials that honor our troops who have served before. They say ALOT. Their mere presence renders strong men speechless, who become caught in the moment of their days of service. What am I suggesting? I just think something in addition to those tributes is called for. Any person that lays down their life needs to be remembered just like little Jake. We have a duty and a responsibility in prolonging the legacy of those that serve. I DO know that if one soldier from our state is killed in action that I will be at their funeral. I have to. Will you? Then what next? I'm praying for an answer. I keep seeing BOLD, BE BOLD. Some of you will be able to see more to this story. Read it again, and again, if you must. You'll see much more....and that will prompt you to do more. Here is a prayer taken from Daily Guideposts, "the Daily Inspiration for Our Military Families" for November 1st. It says BOLD.
"Faithful Lord, send me a Saint today to shine your light on my path. And let me be a Saint where another needs it."
I hope this moves you to think about our Soldiers, especially with Veterans Day coming upon us. I hope it hits you upside the head. Yes, I'm seed planting here. That's my new job and I love it. God help it grow.