11 November 2013

Happy Veterans' Day 2013

I have a great uncle (both in the genealogical sense and in the sense that he's one of the most amazing people I know) who served his country--my country--for three years in the South Pacific.  I can't begin to tell you the number of times his life was spared, or all the things he went through as a  medic working to save the lives of wounded men of all nationalities.  But I want to take a moment here to thank veterans of any era for giving their time, talents, and even lives to serve my home.

In a culture and time when looking out for number one means living without a thought for serving others, my great uncle's life is all the more inspiring to me.

When I talked with him today about some of his experiences, the repeated theme that came back over and over was this:  "It was a privilege to serve my country."

I've never heard my great uncle swear.  In fact, I've never heard so much as a complaint escape his lips.  About anything.  He only knows how to tell you about all the wonderful things in his life, and all the ways God has blessed him, provided for him, preserved him.  

Thus when he used the word "hell" to describe what he went through, I have to believe him.  Yet he counts those three years as privilege, not because he survived, but because he was able to spend those three years serving other people and helping to preserve a way of life we take all too much for granted.

In fact, service has been the story of his whole life, with my great aunt right at his side.  (She's equally amazing--he was given a forty-five day furlough in 1945, and not knowing the war would end and that he would be honorably discharged without having to go back to the Pacific, she married him, not knowing whether she would be a widow in as many days as she had been a wife.)  They've served not only their country, but also their Lord, with all their hearts, not only in the country of their birth, but in places about as far away from home as a person can get.

The fifteen minutes I spent on the phone with these two heroes today were among my most precious, ever.  They live a happy life, no matter their circumstances.  They have dozens of blessings to recount, without even a passing thought to anything resembling a complaint.  They each say the other gets better every day, and are just like newlyweds after decades and decades of marriage.  Neither would trade honesty and integrity for anything the world has to offer.

Perhaps their lives of service provide the key to their happiness. Counting it a privilege to serve, they've always had more than enough privileges at their fingertips, with blessings poured out on them from the King of loving service besides.

1 comment:

  1. They are, indeed, GREAT. They will never see this post -- Perhaps they would enjoy a printed version in their snail mail?


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