Wisdom is with the aged and understanding in length of days. Job 12:12
I talked with a man today, an 80+-year-old man. I asked him if there was anything I can get him while this Coronavirus scare was gripping America. He simply smiled, looked away and said: “Let me tell you what I need! I need to believe, at some point, this country my generation fought for… I need to believe this nation we handed safely to our children and their children… I need to know this generation will quit being a bunch of sissies…that they respect what they’ve been given…that they’ve earned what others sacrificed for.”
I wasn’t sure where the conversation was going or if it was going anywhere at all. So, I sat there, quietly observing.
“You know, I was a little boy during WWII. Those were scary days. We didn’t know if we were going to be speaking English, German or Japanese at the end of the war. There was no certainty, no guarantees like Americans enjoy today. And no home went without sacrifice or loss. Every house, up and down every street, had someone in harm’s way. Maybe their Daddy was a soldier, maybe their son was a sailor, maybe it was an uncle. Sometimes it was the whole family…fathers, sons, uncles…
Having someone, you love, sent off to war…it wasn’t less frightening than it is today. It was scary. If anything, it was more frightening. We didn’t have battlefront news. We didn’t have email or cellphones. You sent them away and you hoped…you prayed. You may not hear from them for months, if ever. Sometimes a mother was getting her son’s letters the same day Dad was comforting her over their child’s death.
And we sacrificed. You couldn’t buy things. Everything was rationed. You were only allowed so much milk per month, only so much bread, toilet paper. EVERYTHING was restricted for the war effort. And what you weren’t using, what you didn’t need, things you threw away, they were saved and sorted for the war effort. My generation was the original recycling movement in America.
And we had viruses back then…serious viruses. Things like polio, measles, and such. It was nothing to walk to school and pass a house or two that was quarantined. We didn’t shut down our schools. We didn’t shut down our cities. We carried on, without masks, without hand sanitizer. And do you know what? We persevered. We overcame. We didn’t attack our President, we came together. We rallied around the flag for the war. Thick or thin, we were in it to win. And we would lose more boys in an hour of combat than we lose in entire wars today.”
He slowly looked away again. Maybe I saw a small tear in the corner of his eye. Then he continued: “Today’s kids don’t know sacrifice. They think sacrifice is not having coverage on their phone while they freely drive across the country. Today’s kids are selfish and spoiled. In my generation, we looked out for our elders. We helped out with single moms whose husbands were either at war or dead from war. Today’s kids rush the store, buying everything they can…no concern for anyone but themselves. It’s shameful the way Americans behave these days. None of them deserve the sacrifices their granddads made.
So, no I don’t need anything. I appreciate your offer but, I know I’ve been through worse things than this virus. But maybe I should be asking you, what can I do to help you? Do you have enough pop to get through this, enough steak? Will you be able to survive with 113 channels on your tv?”
I smiled, fighting back a tear of my own…now humbled by a man in his 80’s. All I could do was thank him for the history lesson, leave my number for emergency and leave with my ego firmly tucked away.
I talked to a man today. A real man. An American man from an era long gone and forgotten. We will never understand the sacrifices. We will never fully earn their sacrifices. But we should work harder to learn about them. Learn from them…to respect them. Darcy Hawk Ellis
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
“Out of the mouth of babes,” is a proverbial and biblical idiom we use to express the unique and sometimes humorous wisdom of children.
Here are a few that have made the rounds for years by an unnamed author and source.
Patrick age 10: “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
Michael age 14: “When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.”
Joel, age 10: “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.”
Talya age 11: “When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.”
Armir age 9: “You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in your milk.”
Michael age14: “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
Eileen, age 8: “Never try to baptize a cat.”
Apparently, these kids have gained these insights by experience, which is one way to obtain wisdom. Or as Harvard professor, Theodore Levitt, observed, “Experience comes from what we have done. Wisdom comes from what we have done badly.”
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The man who stepped in front of the bullet:
One recent evening, twenty-one-year-old Dustin Wakefield was dining at an outdoor Miami Beach café with his wife and one-year-old son. When a gunman approached and allegedly aimed his weapon at his son, Dustin’s uncle told the Miami Herald what happened next: “Dustin stood up between the gunman and the baby and he shot him. He shot him multiple times on the ground.”
Dustin’s father and stepmother later issued this statement about him: “He loved God. Every day he lived full of faith and peace, and he shared that with others. It is in his true character that he laid to rest, protecting his family. He is that man. We take great pride and comfort in the fact that we were blessed with the man who stepped in front of the bullet to save others. He has always been, and he will continue to be our hero.”
For the rest of his life, Dustin Wakefield’s son will never have to wonder if his father loved him.
Here is what makes Jesus’ death on the cross even more stunning: his Father chose for him to die for you and me. It is as if we had committed a crime worthy of death, a gunman came to execute us, and Dustin held up his innocent son to take the bullet meant for us.
Max Lucado wrote: “God is with us. Prophets weren’t enough. Apostles wouldn’t do. Angels won’t suffice. God sent more than miracles and messages. He sent himself; he sent his Son.” As a result, Lucado noted, “Jesus has been where you are; he can relate to how you feel. And if his life on earth doesn’t convince you, his death on the cross should.”
In a culture that is more antagonistic to biblical truth and morality than ever before in our history, making America a nation worth dying for will require steadfast courage on our part. However, when we remember our Savior’s sacrifice for us, we are empowered and encouraged to emulate his sacrifice in serving those we influence. Jim Denison
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
Morality, decency and civility standards in our families, children, educational institutions, workplaces, sports, media and other venues continue to slip, and we applaud when integrity and wholesomeness appear as novel newcomers rather than an expected way of life. Scott Whitaker
Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also can tear you apart. HARUKI MURAKAMI
The longer I live, the more uninformed I feel. Only the young have an explanation for everything. ISABEL ALLENDE
If You Really Believe In Jesus And You Really Belong to Jesus, You Will Behave Like Jesus. Pastor Ken Whitten
Don’t judge yourself by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson
Since we as Christians, we are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; I encourage you to bow your head to give thanks before every meal…I mean every meal! Dwight Short
You may feel as if you’re losing the battle, but don’t give up! Hold tightly to Jesus’ hand, and just keep standing. This is victory. Sarah Young
We don’t always understand the reason why God permits suffering. Dan Shock
The only time to prepare for a storm is before it arrives. Jim Denison
Max Lucado writes: “When we feel lonely, knowing someone understands can make all the difference. You can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely if you don’t feel known. And you can be alone but not lonely if you are known. God became flesh so we would always feel known by him.”
Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. MADELEINE L’ENGLE
Salvation is through grace – through Jesus alone.
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25
Life is sacred from conception to natural death. Jim Denison