Sunday, August 31, 2008

Marine World War II Marine Veteran

As the widow of a Marine who served in the South Pacific during World War II, could I not post the story below? The story has been on the internet for awhile but is worth reading again.

Charles Shaw, like most Marines, as the Marine hymn states, was “proud to be member of the United States Marines.”

This is also in honor of the soldiers now serving in our war against the Islamic Terrorist who continue their deadly atttacks. A young Marine from our church family, Clay Gentry was recently wounded in Afghanistan. Thank God, Clay is expected to recover but many of today's brave Marine's have not.

My husband served in the Marine Corps, Semper fidelis in World War II. “Always faithful“ was more than a motto to him and to his buddies and also to the wives and widows of these men, who do not question that they (not we) were indeed the “greatest generation.”

Perhaps every one of them did not earn the "Greatest Generation" title? But is was a time of loyality to God and country!

It is entitled, THE OLD MAN.
As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away..
I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too and took a few steps towards him.

I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.

He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me.

Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back... I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the oldman had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem(overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. Inodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'

He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal ...

He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife.

I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had givento me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name... 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence. Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America ..

Thanks to those who served....& those who supported them. America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the
Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front
of them! Remember, Freedom isn't Free, thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

There Are More of "Them" Than There are of "Us."

Sherry Smith (not her real name) called me this morning. Again! She was homeless. Again!

She had slept out in the cold last night, she told me. She was looking for a place to sleep tonight.

Her time had run out on all the homeless shelters. Hospitality house could not take her as they take only women who are in abusive situations and with small children. Salvation Army takes only men. She had applied for Government housing and was promised it in a few days but needed temporary housing now.

Yes, she has been to all the churches. I did not ask her if she had been to the Liquor Stores or other such businesses for help. I already knew the answer to that. It is only on television programs that bartenders always listen to and help destitute people. I have talked to and assisted countless destitute people looking for monetary help but have never met one who thought to ask for help from anyone in the multi-billion dollar Alcohol Industry.

Sherry had finally gone back to several of the churches asking for money for a bus ticket because "I cannot get any help here so I have to go somehow else.”

I had known Sherry and her family well when she and her siblings were children. When my husband was pastor of a Methodist Church here in the 1960's, her Daddy had been in prison and we spent much time with them, buying food and supplies over and over again. We had looked after the small children on several ocassions and had enabled an older child to attend our Camp Glisson one summer.

When I moved back to Rome ten years ago, Sherry, the youngest who had been a beautiful child, was all grown up. She is now 51 and had raised her children in Government housing, separated from her husband she told me.

She was in another “emergency “situation. She found my name in a phone book and called. Yes, I remembered her and her family well. I paid her overdue monthy rent that day and on a later ocassion.

I was genuinely glad to see Sherry and to hear about the family. Two of the 6 children had jobs but, I surmised had handed out all the support they could manage to the mother (the father had died) and the other four.

In other words, just as she had “used up the church and caring pastors," she had also used up any responsible family member.

My heart went out to Sherry this morning. I listened to her for a long time telling me she just needed a place to stay a "few days." I was sorely tempted to drive over and get her and let her sleep in my guest bedroom. How can we as Christian live in a warm house, while other people are homeless on a cold night? Not easily!

Fortunately, I remembered I as not physically able to handle a drug addicted person. I remembered other advice that has stood the test of time. Basically some modification of “tough love” seems the only real and lasting help!

In my second conversation with Sherry, I asked about “drug use.” She said “no” but quickly thanked me and hung up. She thought I had already learned the truth about her major problem in my many calls around town trying to get help for her,

I was to learn later from a Christian Social Worker who promised her, not the apartment Sherry had told me about (Sherry had lied to me about that. But she had promised Sherry she would get her into drug treatment when she was willing to go.

They also promised to keep me informed about Sherry's progress. God help Sherry to make the right decision.

Yes! There is "more of them" needing help than there are people willing and/or able to "give help." Much of my time as a pastor and even as a retiree has been spent in the social needs of people. This was true also of my husband and many other pastors. But we all need more than the human and social resources available. We need Divine help. We need God.

We need "liberation" but we need even more than "Liberation theology." We need the impowering Grace that comes with a personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus as simply confessed in our Holy Book of Faith.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

For Thursday Thirteen, I will post again the 13 positive things I wrote about myself some time ago? The picture to the right is Lillian and Grady , my mother and father-in-law in their dinning room in the 1960's. My husband Charles sitting next to his mother on the left and I next to him. Three other sons , James, Grady and Bill are around the table with wives, Margaret anf Eugenia wives of Grady and Bill. The youth and children are at a table set up to the left and out of the photo)

1. God Loves me. I rejoice every day in the knowledge that I am a child of God.

2. My husband loved me. I was a teen but was
smart enough to marry Charles Shaw and to love and be faithful to him all the days of his life. During our 47 years of marraige, we both had much to learn and had some difficult days but continued to love and respect one another. He was a truly great man.

3. I was and am a good mother to my seven children, my five sons-in-law and 2 daughters-in-law. I truly love (adore) them (even my in-law children) and my 18 grandchildren plus (nine in-law grandchidren...Jack, Naomi, Ricky, LaDonna, Steven, Meleah, Emily, Phillip, Michaele) and now 16 great grandchildren (Hannah, John, Helena, Sarah, James, Lewis, Mark, Rachael, Dow, AnnaGrace, Brianne, Natalie, Ethan, Lily, Sophie, Emma) and would gladly lay down my life for each and everyone of them.

4. Dogs like me. I am not a “dog lover”… have never had time to deal with a dog but they love me, nudge me, smell me and try to get in my lap when I visit in their homes. (This may be a negative thing. )

5. I love people and look for the positive in everyone.

6. I have beautiful legs? The general consensus of nurses and hospital personnel in many of my hospital experiences in recent years , is that I still have beautiful, young looking legs, "for my age." When recovering from my heart stint surgery, a nurse - one of many - came into my room, looked at my chart, and made a big fuss about how young I looked and "beautiful young legs." Hospital policy? I felt better immediately! Perhaps that was the idea.

7. I have a good sense of humor. I love to laugh and find much to laugh about. I am considered a "serious" person so people often seem surprised that I find so many things to laugh about.

8. I have always felt fairly positive, for the most part, about the way I look. (looked ... past tense). My husband thought I was beautiful and did not hesitate to tell me. The first time I saw myself on a video, I knew I was not near as beautiful as he claimed. But like most people, I have come to terms with my "looks" and try to accent the positive?

9. I feel I a modest person ... in spite of all the bragging above. At least I am humble enough to feel guilty and "childish" for finding so many positive things to say about myself.

10. I am a positive person.

11. I do not criticize people nor look for negative things in people.

12. I am a good “preacherThis is not a positive thing about me but about the God who has “annointed” me to do so. It is a faith building experience to see how the Lord does enable one to do what He calls them to do. Surprised by joy!

13. I am kind and often listen to, pray for and try to help those in crisis.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half . You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!! But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling.. What's wrong? What's changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone. But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You've built up so much speed ! that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90's, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92." Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!" May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

A tribute to Pastors.

A Tribute to Pastors
I suppose all of us who have sat in Psychology classes have heard about Abraham Maslow. He believed, though he had no scientific proof for it, that restraint was unhealthy and that "self - actualization" and high self - esteem were crucial to human development.

Many of us have come to believe that nothing builds high self esteem in a child or any person so much as coming to the realization that God loves us and we are so important Jesus died to save us.

Jan Karon's Mitford series books remain on the New York Times Bestseller list for many reasons. Karon's leading character, Father Tim, is a reminder of what every good pastor should be. It is refreshing because in much of the media pastors are presented as either ignorant or evil. As I read Karon's work, I thought of my favorite pastor. He was also my husband from our youth until his death in 1986.

My pastor, like Father Tim and so many other pastors, worked tirelessly and unselfishly, visiting the sick and homebound, ministering to those in prisons, going with fathers to search for runaway children in the "hippie" era and continuing to tell the awesome good news of Jesus. All this is just a tiny part of the job description of a pastor.

The Little Old Lady with a Gun

An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her voice, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!" The four men didn't wait for a second invitation. They got out andran like mad. The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into thedriver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her keyinto the ignition.
She tried and tried, and then it dawned on her why... For the same reason she did not understand why there was a football, a Frisbee and two12 packs of soda in the front seat!
A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or fivespaces farther down. She loaded her bags into the car and drove to thepolice station to report her mistake.
The sergeant to whom she told the story couldn't stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter,where four pale men werereporting a car jacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than five feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun.