This week began with a blur of long truck rides on the rain slick Mississippi roads connecting my hilly corner of the northern end of southern nowhere with the flat featureless Delta. We were after ducks, but two trips to a slough running alongside a flooded soybean field proved that while there were a few puddlers around, the weather up north had not gotten cold enough to push the big migratory waves that fill a duck hunter's dreams south in search of warmer climes and open water. So we talked.
I was along at the invitation of someone who, up until two years ago, I had last seen in the late spring of 1978. He was, then, a teenager from a small group of youth at the little country church Miss Brenda and I had joined shortly after we married. And, although we weren't but a couple of years removed from their age group, Miss Brenda and I had volunteered to work as teachers with the church youth. During the next three decades my career in the Marine Corps took me to every continent on this big blue marble except Antarctica. My hunting partner had, among other things, driven a truck cross country and visited nearly every state and major city in these re-United States. As we shared experiences, it occurred to me that he had lived a more dangerous life than I had.
This morning, I lay awake in the early dawn listening to the local group of crows I've named the Caw Crew announce their latest discovery and I began to reflect on how God had directed my life. Some would say that I have lived a "charmed life." I know, however, that luck has nothing to do with the way my life went. He never prevented me from taking initiatives and making decisions that gave me the opportunity go in harm's way, but God always seemed to smooth out the rough road ahead of me. At the time, it was very, very frustrating. I was a trained leader of combat Marines and ALL I wanted was the opportunity to prove my mettle. God had a different plan.
I don't know why God has circled my life back around to this point and these people I last saw thirty years ago. I don't know why He allowed me to dedicated my heart, mind, and soul to the destruction of my nation's enemies and the leadership of men like-minded, and then ordered the events in my life in such a way that I never fired a shot in righteous anger or led men in a fight. By all rights, I shouldn't be here--I accepted the great possibility early on that the vocation I had chosen would likely mean that I would not live to be an old man. I don't know what God was/is thinking.
But, I'm listening, Lord. You have my attention.