Just One Voice

Veteran’s Day 2015

Veteran’s Day marks a time when I took seriously a promise I had made to God and myself about writing. I promised that with all the topics that revealed themselves for discussion, I would do so in a respectful, not reflexive manner. There is plenty of that already out there. In today’s world, respect has seemingly become a rare commodity. The face of courage has become cheapened, distorted by the media, sold to the highest bidder. However, I believe in the purity of the truth and what courage and dedication to purpose really looks like, and in all things truth will not be silent.

This Veteran’s Day I want to remember and pay tribute to thirteen very young, very courageous men who took their promise seriously, to defend the rights and freedoms we often take for granted. I would like remember Joseph H. (CPL/USMC) and countless servicemen and women who return home from war, yet the war is still going on in them.

These thirteen young men were all lost in battles over the course of a single year while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. In a separate story, when Joseph H. returned home from Iraq a couple of years ago, as many of our servicemen and women do, their war doesn’t end when they reach American soil.  PTSD and the veteran suicide numbers reflect a war all its own.

In my desire to pay tribute to the real faces of courage, I began searching the internet for some stock photos to use with my unwritten Veteran’s Day post.  God has such a unique way of building the back story that perpetuates creativity in me. I came across several color guard and flag laden cemetery pictures. While looking at these I heard in my heart the words…even the rocks will cry out.

The phrase was familiar to me from recent research in the book of Luke.  Luke 19:40 holds an ultimate battle cry when remembrance must be a priority.  We remember the story of Jesus and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem before the crucifixion. The ultimate sacrifice. As Jesus was heading down the road that went to the Mount of Olives, the voices of the disciples and the crowd shouted praises to the King of Kings. The Pharisees who witnessed this told Jesus to stifle his disciples.

His reply was pure battle cry.  He said, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” I am thankful Jesus’ followers did not remain quiet. One voice by one voice that news remains to this day the Good News. Just one voice. History has been changed time and time again by just one voice.

            In the US we have the freedom of speech which allows even me, to have a voice. What God can do with just this one voice is often beyond my humbled comprehension.  As I reviewed the photos, the words would not fade…“even the rocks will cry out.” I looked at all those pure white headstones and together in one clear, solid voice they cried out in my heart…Please remember me. A simple thank you for your service just didn’t seem like enough. In that moment, Anthem was born. 

In honor and remembrance:

*3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division: (Korengal Valley, Afghanistan 2008-2009)*SSG Rogers *SSG Paquet *PFC Dinterman *SPC Knight *SSG Farley *SPC Gonzales*SSG Cox *SGT Medley *SPC Bertrand *SPC Fortunato *SGT Penich *SGT Dawson *PFC Dewater

*CPL Joseph H.USMC

Anthem 

There is a voice so strong it moves through time and space.

It hangs suspended in the air we breathe.

Childhood songs of rocket’s red glare, songs of liberty,

‘My County ‘Tis of Thee.’

Yet these stones cry out an anthem all their own, they cry out…

“Please…Please remember me!” 

In God we trust, pledged to defend. Duty. Honor. Courage.

Solemn vows, words spoken by lips desired and sought,

return home broken…and boxed…

trapped in war still being fought.

Yes, these rocks still cry out.

“Please remember me!”  

You are who you are, have what you have

Cast votes for your thoughts, to raise up your own,

Like it or not! Truth is, the land of the brave, home of the free,

came with a cost, blood was spilled relentlessly,

wars fought long before there was you, before there was me. 

Sacrifice knows not rank or file, no branch of service

sea-to-sea, desert storm or reveille. Honor! Duty!

Stone I say! Speak to me! This price so dear!

The lives?  The toll?

Lord, lift my spirit. Comfort my soul.

“Carry me home!” These rocks cry out.

“Where someone will remember me!” 

Now, wherever I go, you are there.

White stone of my soul cries out!

“Doesn’t seem fair! I am but a candle gone cold.” 

No I say! You are a hero’s light that rests on high,

You are the soft wind in the flag that passes me by,

You are the color guard cadence for all to see.

Yes, I will. I promise.

 Veteran's Day 2015

I will remember Thee. 

 

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Love Out Loud/Dear Mom

Love Out Loud: 5/25

Dear Mom,

Writing for Mother’s Day is still tough. In the grand scheme of things your own life was too short. Last Mother’s Day I found myself lost in thought about a theme for my blog. As I often do to ‘unstick’ myself and move forward in my writing, I just got quiet. The beauty of the secret garden evolving outside my bedroom window is the catalyst for perfect stillness. I often clear my desk to help clear my thoughts. I began to finish up some mindless filing. When I reached the bottom of the pile, I noticed a letter with vaguely familiar handwriting. Goosebumps covered me as I began to read.

Dear Mother…”

Mom, I know you saw the shocked look on my face. To my knowledge, I had never seen that letter before. Welcome to my senior moments!  It was a letter from you, to your mom, Grandma Rosie. What was it doing on my desk?  I shook my head as reread the date on the letter.

January 1962!

“Where in the crazy did this come from?” I was instantly swept into a time warp as I read. In the letter, you were telling Grandma Rosie we had arrived in Sasebo, Japan and we were doing fine. Christmas had been small and quiet. You told her about the presents we kids had gotten.  However, your overwhelming joy was about a gift from Dad. He had given you a string of real pearls. You underlined it three times.  Your overwhelm came from the surprise and the non-existent budget for such a gift.

In all things great and small related to Divine ink, how beautiful is the tapestry of finding a letter like that on Mother’s Day, 25 years after you have gone home? To stand with one foot in the natural world and feel the warmth of a parent’s love that had gone before me, is to be wrapped in the arms of God’s wisdom and understanding that love never ends.

A Christmas gift from Dad has become gifts to generations neither of you got to meet. It is no longer a single strand, but several amazing pieces of jewelry for your ‘daughters’. The pearls have gone on to be everything from Groom’s gifts to their brides, to the idea that became this blog, originally called, string of pearls.

I spent the early hours of dawn, letting the grief wash over me. In this life of mine driven by faith in God, comfort in sorrow, comes wrapped in the most unlikely gifts. Finding your letter on Mother’s Day was a gift that could not be purchased, such is His perfect timing.

I began to think about your legacy in my life today. I could see the early part of my life as a parent, working hard to live out my own absolutes. “When I’m a parent I will never…”  I am always amazed at what God does with the words Never and Always, once they have spilled out of your mouth, especially with concern to parenting.

I discovered my determination and perseverance in the face of great odds is your mirror image. However, it’s my faith in God’s promises for me that drive that perseverance. Your entrepreneurial spirit and community involvement is more good stuff  that lives on in me as well as, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  I loved the part of your letter where you talked about all the friends you discovered had been transferred from Bermuda, to Sasebo, Japan. Your truest friendships lasted long distances and for a lifetime.  How well I know the value of comfort and encouragement; of having and being, a loyal friend.

Your letter reminded me so poignantly about God’s many promises for us. Tomorrow isn’t one of them, is it?  It prompted tough questions I had to ask myself.  Do I see in my children and grandchildren the reflection of a good example? Have I lived love out loud in front of them? I pray I have shown them what it is to always have time for them, keeping them a priority in my life. Have I shown them long distances and short finances are no match for God’s love of families? We know firsthand about that, don’t we?  God will make the way for time to be together, and He will bless that time beyond measure.

Have I shown my children how to really listen to whatever their children have to say?  Even if it is something they don’t want to hear?  Have I done it with any resemblance of the way God listens to His children?  Have I been REALLLLLY clear about unforgiveness?  Have I stressed enough, that bearing a grudge is a relentless thief of time?

As you can see Mom, God’s wisdom and knowledge have become His gift that cannot be wrapped.  I pray they will live on in me as the good stuff. Thanks for reminding me today wisdom does more than echo in the words, “Sometimes last words can be just that… last words.”   Love you.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

 

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