An American Hero
THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR COLD WATER...
My Grandmother told me, some many years ago, "Always remember to thank Jesus for every day of your life. Never ask from Him more than you need. Simple pleasures are all you really need. Always keep your promises to Him, and He will continue to look out for you." So, for all of my life, I've done just that. I try not to ask for much and wrap up my prayers with "...and thank you, Jesus, for this blessed day of my life". I must confess, I've made a few promises to him that I didn't always keep. Many of them in an inebriated state of being... "Please, Jesus, if you'll just stop this room from spinning, I'll never drink again." Maybe a little late on my promise, but I finally stopped drinking seven years ago. I can only assume that the Lord is indeed forgiving, because, for the most part, up until now, I've had a pretty good life. Through the years, I've made a ton of mistakes and have paid dearly. Mostly, my decisions on who to trust and to whom to give my heart. I've gone out of my way to treat those less fortunate than I with respect, understanding, courtesy and empathy. That's just the way we "Children of the South" were raised. Most always, if I see a veteran in "a bad way", I'm happy to monetarily contribute to his need. So many of those brave men I fought along side, in Vietnam, have not been able to rid their minds of the gore and devastation of that tragic time. Me either. At times, it hasn't been easy, but somehow I've managed to find a way to carry on. In 120 degrees, in a rice patty, just beyond the village of Dai Do, having been wounded for the third time, I lay on my back, with my knee ripped open from enemy shrapnel, awaiting my turn to be medivacced from "the bush". All around me were dead and wounded Marines. A few of them, close friends. Almost all, within hearing distance, were praying..screaming to Jesus to help them! It's hard to describe the desperate, gurgling pleas of dying men. It's even harder to drown those sounds from my head. Yes, of course, I prayed too. I knew I wasn't going to die from my wound, still I prayed to live. I also, in the middle of all the chaos, thought about what my grandmother taught me about my prayers. I thanked Jesus for that day of my life and asked for a simple pleasure...cold water. I made Him a promise that I would never again take cold water for granted. I passed out shortly thereafter and woke up in a make-shift hospital in Quang Tri. My knee had been stitched up and wrapped. A nurse was there, smiling down at me, and said "You're alive and everything will be okay". Then she asked "Would you like a glass of cold water?" My grandmother also used to tell me "God works in mysterious ways". To this day, every time I have a glass of cold water, I say, out loud, "Thank you, Jesus, for cold water". In my prayers, I ask Him to watch over those brave warriors, in foreign lands, fighting for our freedom. As I sit here writing about that time none of us, who were there, will ever forget, there's a glass of ice-cold water on my desk, next to me. So, thank you, Jesus, for this cold water and for looking out for me and all my fellow veterans still here on planet earth...