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The Journey Continues: Three Years Part Three

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Editor's Note: The Journey Continues celebrates three years this month. This is the third part in a four part column highlighting notable columns over the years.

#10 I wrote a column about my personal “truths” speech to the cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point:

  • “When making a choice, the hard way is the right way."
  • “You can’t go down two roads at the same time, meaning that in life we cannot have things both ways; that only leads to failure."
  • “On your chosen road, one can do more than one -thing- at- a- time well."
  • “One cannot prejudge others."
  • "Service to the Nation is the high calling of placing others above self. A soldier’s purpose is to protect life, not take life. It is a privilege to lead American soldiers.”

“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

#11 On Labor Day I write about “work” and “getting tired.” I greatly respect the working person. I learned about work from my folks and neighbors, all toiling to make a living from the land. My worldview was shaped by the following true story from my summer employment on a construction crew building bridges: My partner in placing forty-foot rebar, Mr. Hernandez, was missing from work one afternoon. The next day I asked him where he had been. His answer touched my heart, “I took off half a day to bury my daughter.” That’s all the time he could afford to miss. I had more of an appreciation for what a “living wage” meant when I returned to A&M in the fall.

#12 Judy and I, in August 2018, served as Baptist volunteers for two days at the McAllen Catholic Charities Respite Center ministry for undocumented people crossing the Rio Grande River. We went on a “fact-finding” mission to see for ourselves what all the headlines were reporting. We were assigned kitchen duties and spent our time preparing “take-out” sacks of sandwiches and snacks to be issued when the people departed the center for bus rides to sundry destinations. I could feel the fatigue in both immigrants and staff. and was amazed by the sweet spirit that prevailed in the 150-200 immigrants served daily. Catholic Charities has a goal of “Creating a world where immigrants, refugees, migrants and people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome and belonging.”

“The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatsoever you did for one of the lest of these brothers of mine, you did for me?” Matthew 25:40

In McAllen, we were guests in the home of Eloy and Nancy Chavez. Eloy and I have been friends since our days at the Baptist Academy. The only thing better than a friend is an “old friend.”

#13 My journey every spring takes me to other “old friends” from my Infantry Rifle Company – men who served together over 50 years ago in Vietnam. We know each other’s hearts. Vietnam was the signature event of our lifetime. We have held reunions in San Antonio, Texas; Dollywood, Tennessee and Fort Benning, Georgia. We had plenty to talk about as one year in combat produces many memories. Conversations often ended with current health issues: Blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, hearing loss, Agent Orange, mental breakdowns, PTSD, divorce, and children. Based on our experiences, we can say: God was real, present, and available during our tours – this is our faith.

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