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Transparent Thoughts

A Worthy Reflection

Monday, August 9, 2010 • Marcia Swearingen • Changing the world

    The trip was billed as a "unique adventure"--two days and nights aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown; a trip to the birthplace of the Civil War, Fort Sumter; and additional tours of a submarine, a destroyer, and a Coast Guard cutter. My husband's enthusiasm won me over. Yes, I would help him chaperone a Boy Scout trip to Patriots' Point in Charleston, South Carolina.

    As we prepared to bunk with 300 scouts from all over the country, I discovered how readily sound travels in a massive metal ship.  Every fidget became a clanging echo that reverberated. And we weren't even on the open sea. Our tour of history would occur without leaving the safety of a snug harbor.

    At every meal all of us met in the hangar deck in front of a giant American flag to recite the pledge and say grace.  Each day movies about the exploits of the Yorktown during World War II played in the ship's theater and tours were taken of the adjacent floating ships. The grand finale came on the last night when a former instructor at the US Navy's elite Top Gun fighter pilot school challenged both boys and girls to be disciplined enough to achieve their dreams and dare to make the world a better place.  He talked about historical figures from our first President to heroes of the present day who fought overwhelming odds until victory was achieved because of the strength of their convictions and the depth of their faith.  No one fidgeted.  Everybody listened.

     By the last evening, after all the tours were completed, I was overcome by a fresh awareness of the sacrifices others had made so that we could live the way we do today. And how are we living?  How do we spend our time? Our energy?  Our resources?  What occupies our thoughts and priorities? Would our answers be worthy of the sacrifices made by the men who had once slept where we were sleeping?

    I resolved to try to live each day intentionally with gratitude for the opportunities and the heritage I'd been given.  As the pilot said, freedom has never been free.

    And neither is grace.

    Standing on the flight deck watching the sun melt into the horizon, I realized the most beautiful part of a sunset is the afterglow--the time after the sun has gone down when its glory is still being reflected by the surrounding clouds. Each of us has a choice. We can reflect the status quo or a piece of heaven.

Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name forever.
Psalm 34:3

 

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