TITLE: A Dinner Conversation - 10/13
By Ron Parker
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A Dinner Conversation:
Let’s begin by saying that seniors and grandparents in general are sometimes hesitant to tell of their sometimes hard-won `insights`.
But, I am going to take a chance – and hope that the following may be of some small value to you.
I am going to begin by telling you of a conversation I had a while ago. It was with a trooper who had served in Iraq. He was telling of an experience he had – that still impacts him.
He found himself regaining consciousness – face down in the sand - without a clue as to how he wound up there. He stressed that he needed closure with this gap in his memory. He said he was unable to really get back to `normal` until he had this closure.
Now, please keep this story in mind, as we continue. This is only ½ of the story, and the other half will come in just a few moments.
The real subject of this little pre-dinner conversation is God’s gifts to us. I am firmly convinced that we are the recipients of constant gifts – coming in all shapes and sizes. They are all wrapped neatly, and some are more easily unwrapped than others.
The ones that are easy to unwrap are:
• Music that moves us,
• Books that give us an insight (Aha, now I get it! Moments)
And, the list goes on and on.
The packages that are not so easy to unwrap are those that often involve us stepping out of our comfort zones. Those packaged gifts are often more complex, but also more rewarding. They might consist of:
• Questions of morality
• Questions of integrity
• Appreciation of different
And again, the list goes on and on.
These, in my opinion, are all gifts. They are gifts that we can ignore, give a quick pass, or relish.
I have made so many mistakes in my life that I can’t begin to count them. But, one of the mistakes I did not make was ignoring God’s many gifts. I tried to open all of them – and continually explore, experience and wonder.
This is exemplified by an incident when I had been transferred to a military hospital in Germany – while I was newly stationed in France. The ailment was a collapsed lung. After the treatment and I was released back to my unit in France, this conversation took place. Note: this may not be 100% accurate in verbiage, but the tone is absolutely accurate:
Corpsman: Great news! You can get a medical discharge. You can go home. You can get full veteran’s benefits, no reserve obligation, and have an Honorable Discharge. Man, you got it made. You can go home!
Me: Are you nuts? I’ve been home. I haven’t been here. I just got here. I’m not going home. If you try, I’ll fight it all the way. I’m not leaving!
Well, I did not leave – and had two great, great years in France. So, even at the age of 20-21 – I began to recognize God’s gifts, and I wanted to open as many as I could.
Now, let’s get back to the vet, who needed closure. The conversation went on, and I said to him, “How is it possible to get closure – with an event that happened years ago, half way around the world? “
“Why don’t you conclude that a shell landed nearby, and the concussion knocked you out? Isn’t that a plausible conclusion? Why don’t you go with that, and get on with your life?”
Then it dawned on me, that perhaps this fellow was not looking for `closure`. He may have been looking for an excuse not to get back into the trenches where we are, and get on with life. Getting on with life means success, failure, happiness, disappointment, and all the emotions that we humans possess. Maybe, he just didn’t want to `engage`.
Then, I began to think – and maybe many, many people use some reason (excuse) to back out of all the roller coaster of emotions we live through. For them, it may be safer. It may be within a narrow comfort zone. No risk; just an existence.
But then, no gifts from God either. And it is those gifts, those experiences, those lessons that make us who we are.
How many eagerly take those gifts, those presents, and unwrap them; and relish them? In my opinion, that is what makes a rich life. The more gifts opened equal more experiences, and more experiences equal a richer life. The richness in life is how many gifts you open.
We all have them. We don’t all open them.
So, as you can see, the moral (the insight) is to open as many of God’s Gifts as you can. To not open them would be like coming downstairs on Dec 26, and see all those beautifully wrapped presents with your name on them – unopened!
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