I pray your Memorial Day was joyous and honored day. Our morning was off to a late start yet we still had twenty minutes to take the flowers down to the relative’s headstones, do a little weeding and place the flowers, or so we thought. Upon walking through the chapel doors we found the service half over ~ the Veteran’s group arrived early, so they started the chapel service scheduled for 9:30 early. Our hearts were heavy and I prayed to fight off the disappointment and anger, trying to keep my mind focused on God and the reason we had gathered together. We had missed over half the service (along with fifteen other people) yet when I put it into perspective…we were there to honor service men and women lives lost defending our country.
Ouch…my missing half a ceremony is miniscule compared to someone losing their life so I have the freedom to attend a Memorial service. My selfish human mind got the best of me, instead of reflecting Jesus I was reflecting a frustrated and selfish individual ~ wanting schedules to progress as planned so my orderly little world stayed in line. On a positive note ~ this was the first year we weren’t racing to the Veteran’s Memorial Park for the start of the service there. Ed, his mother and sister, and our daughter enjoyed a walk down linear park. I enjoyed a few moments to reflect and write with a cool Oswego River breeze keeping the intensity of the sun to a minimum. The day was looking up.
The MC concluded with a reminder to thank our veterans and to thank the individuals still serving. Thank you!!! This brought tears to my eyes as I knew our phone would ring Monday evening with our beloved nephew Justin on the other end. Justin was deployed for his second tour to Afghanistan today. The picture above is of Justin with his niece, one last walk before leaving for another journey and privilege to defend our country overseas. As the phone rang there was silence, we looked at the caller ID recognizing who it was. This would be our last phone call for awhile from Justin. We will transition from nightly calls to sporadic calls, if any until he returns stateside.
My husband answered and their conversation and laughter were instantaneous. Our daughter made small talk before passing the phone to me. My visit was short ~ “We’re praying for you. Have fun and be safe. We love you. If you need anything, you can always call. We’re praying. You’re never alone.” Mary blessed him with two soldier pocket Bibles when he was home in April and we encouraged him to trust Jesus and be reading his new Bible, he even has a spare for a friend. When our military enlist in the service, regardless of their branch ~ they have signed a contract giving the United States the right to do whatever they want with them and to send them wherever they want. This is voluntary ~ an honor and blessing for those of us not called to serve in this capacity. Thank you to all who have served, who are currently serving and to those praying about the decision.
I encourage you to pray for our service men and women, for their families and for our country. Pray a hedge of protection around them, for the strength of their parents here in the states and for all their friends and family anxiously awaiting their return.
Justin is our nephew yet to my husband, he is so much more. Ed considers Justin to be like his son and our daughter thinks of him more as a brother than a cousin. Ed helped his sister raise both Justin and his brother Travis. Ed is a Marine (“Once a Marine, always a Marine” is commonly echoed in our house) although he hasn’t worn a uniform in years. He was overseas during Desert Storm and Shield and returned home safely. While watching the boys and modeling life to them, he and his brothers instilled a desire and love for serving our country. Both Justin and Travis enlisted in the Navy a couple years ago and are currently stationed on the West Coast. One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his interactions with these two boys – he was a great uncle and I knew he would be a great dad.
Years later, sitting in the same order and the same joy and laughter consuming them. Ed loves his boys...although only an uncle, he has always loved them like they were his own. A special bond never to be broken.
Thankfully both boys grew up in to be fine young men. Travis is a great dad to his children and Justin is a wonderful uncle. Both chose to serve their country and fight for our rights and the rights of others. Safe travels Justin…we love you and are praying! Thanks for having a heart to serve, see you when you get home!
Justin leaves today with his unit for his next tour. Keep him in your prayers as he walks off base to his next adventure. He has grown into a fine young man ~ serving his country ~ It looks like he was listening and watching everything "Uncle Ed" told him. Love you Justin!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323