I’ll be with people today who’ve known me most of my life. My father’s youngest sister, Aunt Esther, knew me before I was born. The older generation is passing away (“walking on,” as some tribes say). I have memories of them, and I smile as I recall their laughter, their kindness, the simplicity of their lives (as opposed to the hectic pace that Baby Boomers and our children chose to follow).
Family reunions are good, for they help me remember who I am, and where I come from. These people are of the same flesh and blood as I am. We share DNA. We may not like each other as much as we should, but nothing will change the fact of our oneness.
Many who will gather in that picnic pavilion follow the same faith. Aunt Esther will bring song books, so we can sing the hymns of Heaven, just as we’ve done for over fifty years. It will be good to hear those familiar voices (some more melodious than others). The harmonies will reflect our common beliefs and hopes.
It will feel like “home.” When I returned from war in 1970, I wondered where I would fit in. The country had changed; the war was hated by most (and so were the men who fought in it). But I came back to a family who loved me, unconditionally. And they shed tears of grateful joy to know I was alive and unscathed (at least as far as they could see). They welcomed me with open arms (and hearts), and I felt that old sense of belonging. How I wish that today’s veterans would find the same warmth, and the same light in the window awaiting them!
Maybe that’s where we all enter the picture. We as a nation sent them into battle, and now we’re their family (“blood relation” in that the blood they shed and caused to be shed is our responsibility). It’s our moral obligation to welcome them, to embrace them, to listen to them, and to help them make re-entry into the life we’ve been enjoying while they were serving.
That’s why this Point Man Ministry is where my heart (and the rest of my life) is. I was blessed to have a loving family to bridge me (yes, I’m using it as a verb) back to where I belonged. Many of today’s military will not have such a gift, and so it’s up to us.
Let’s welcome them to the table.