Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Blog Post - A visit to Walter Reed

Last week I accompanied four other soldiers from here at Bragg, up to Walter Reed Hospital in DC, to visit with a Chaplain friend under going treatment for cancer. My friend is doing well and you may pray for him, his name is Dave. He's tired from his treatment, but he's a testimony to strength for sure!

While visiting with Dave, we also went to see some of the other soldiers that our unit has there.

This young man was severely injured by an IED (improvised explosive device) back in the fall. I remember when it happened as I was with his family as the news came in. At that time we didn't even know if he was going to live. I just remember praying alot back then.

The excericise room for soldiers with prosthetics is in a separate part of Walter Reed. You have to pass through the prosthetic lab to get there and the moment I turned the corner I saw, one then two then three, then literally dozens of guys with missing limbs. There were too many to count!

Guys who had lost one leg, two legs, two legs and an arm and even all four were more numerous than people with all their limbs. I have a dear friend who has his lower leg missing and I know how much he struggles, but to lose all four and still press on is really just amazing.

The ward is a specialized gym for amputees. There are work tables and therapists. There is tons of equipment.They have golden retriever therapy dogs that provide companionship and fun for the guys. But what struck me were the legs. In one area of the ward were neatly placed at least 20 mechanical limbs. Legs that fit below the knee, above the knee and even legs with computerized knees that extend all the way to the hip for those more seriously injured.

One of the guys from my unit has lost both his legs and his right arm, although they have been able to reattach that. He is an inspiration to me. For the rest of his life it will be a struggle to do daily things we all take for granted, but his smile endures and he presses on.

A soldier in a wheel chair came up to me...bot legs gone and a huge scar across his head. Now four years after his injury Travis still deals with it every day. He told me what happened like it was just occurring, how his vehicle had be blown to bits and how an unnamed soldier had pulled him to safety. He still lives it out, still struggle, still presses on. We stepped out in the hall and I prayed with him, me on my knee and him in his wheelchair. It was humbling.

As I looked around that ward, so much destruction, so many lives impacted....I couldn't help but think of resurrection. As a Christian and follower of Christ I believe deeply in the bodily resurrection of Christ's followers. I couldn't help but long for things to be whole for these brave men who left parts of themselves in lands that most will never see.

Lord how I want things to be whole, in a world free of death and war. I long for a day where there will be no need for Walter Reed, a day when only peace and joy reign supreme in this world. It surely seems so far off as we watch the news or get the latest Twitter feed.

But I rest in the promises of the Author of the resurrection, who said "I am the resurrection and the life". Jesus made some bold promises about the future that awaits us as those who trust Him. He promises wholeness again, the way it was meant to be, the way we all want it to be. Travis trusts that Savior, just like I do and I plan on having a good long run and a basketball game with him and my granddaddy someday....maybe sooner than we think. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Till then...more to follow!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A new blog post-The power of a baseball

It was a beautiful day here in the foothills of NC, warm in the 60's much nicer than it had been the past 3 months. The warm weather had folks outside, sweeping up, riding bikes and generally basking in a rare warm February day. I rode up the street to fill the Ford with some gas and noticed a guy who has lived in my neighborhood for many years. He lives close enough for me to recognize him around town, but not close enough that we have daily interaction. But the one thing that stands out in my mind over the years of seeing this guy is a baseball. Every year that I can remember I would see him and his son throwing a ball back and forth in their front yard. I remember when his son was so small he could barely chuck it 10 feet. I've seen that kid grow up over the years and seen this man's hair gray. But as I rode by I wondered who that man was throwing the ball with my neighbor. Well, it was his son all grown up, tall and lanky, with facial hair! Now the kids is hurling the ball at a nasty clip and I bet dad's hands are burning.

I saw that very Norman Rockwell looking seen I couldn't help but think about the power of a baseball and more importantly the power of a dad. The fact that this kid, probably 19 now still wants to have a catch with pop speaks more about fathering skills than all the books experts could write on the subject. A simple game of catch  can act as a bonding event that transcends generational issues. Its not a video game, not fancy, not expensive, not even hard to do, but a catch with Pop is awesome. I remember doing the same with my dad, or shooting some hoops. My son does the same with me. Its question asking time, the stuff of life and it is worth millions of dollars....no its priceless, because it can't be conjured up or faked.

I think I'll take advantage of days like that as well and head outside with my son this weekend, throw a ball and make a memory or two.

Hope you will also!

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...