Fool of a man I am. I was walking yesterday at the school and a man was also there walking. I suppose I noticed in his bearing a military gait, but it was in the back of my mind I think. On one lap I saw on the front windshield of his car a decal of some sergeant’s stripes that I thought might be Marine. Still nothing registered. But, I was listening to some good preaching on my iPod and trying to avoid the muddy spots on the path. This man continued to walk and I never caught up with him.
As I was leaving he was still walking. When I drove past his parked car on the back license plate was a frame that said, ‘Retired’ with ‘Marine Corps’ underneath. So, my suspicions were confirmed. But, by then, I was moving away. As I drove around the lot to get back on the road, I thought that that I should have stopped and gone back and spoken to this man – unknown to me. Immediately, emotions of gratitude welled up inside and I wondered if I could do it without breaking down in front of this man, who may have stood on a wall or laid in a foxhole or stood watch at some post or saw many of his ‘brothers’ die in battle. I wanted to tell him, ‘thanks’, shake his hand, and apologize for the shameful way that my country treats him in the media. And, yet I drove on. It was too late to turn around. So, I thought I could make the loop and get him before he got into his car. But, as I got to that point, I thought he was moving toward his car and that I would not catch him in time.
I missed a chance and it was right there! I missed it!
I have resolved not to let this happen again. I feel angry at myself for not thinking of this sooner-while I had the chance.
And yet, while recognizing the price for my personal freedom was bought and paid for by the blood of Americans, that all freedom is paid for by blood, I wonder if I drive by the One who paid with the most precious of all bloods…