I know it is two days past Fathers day, but this is an adaptation of a post I did two years ago that hit me today as hard as the day I wrote it. I will re-post this every year, because the response is so overwhelming and I believe so deeply in the message. I would be honored if you read it.
He was still a teenager when he enlisted in the army. He was one of twelve children, and he recognized his chance to make something of himself. He couldn’t know the United States would be at war within a matter of months.
At eighteen, he found himself in the thick of battle defending the Philippines against the onslaught of Japanese attack. One day he lay behind a log and watched as enemy soldiers overran his position by the hundreds. His capture marked the beginning of a three-and-a-half year nightmare. He became a prisoner of war.
She had been lost for three hours at 10,500 ft in mountain wilderness. Panicked, I had run in every direction and called her name until my voice was gone.
I could close my eyes and see her blond hair and innocent blue eyes. She must be terrified. I remembered the swampy area farther up the mountain between the creek and the road—a stretch of bog covered with almost impenetrable brush and potholes full of mossy, stagnant water.
I clawed my way uphill through thick brush that fought my every move. Often I would sink thigh-deep in small muddy pools. The strenuous effort plus the altitude and stress dragged me to the brink of exhaustion. Don’t let her be in here I prayed as I slogged ahead. Please. Don’t let her be in here.
Over the years I have received many awards and a lot of positive recognition. Some of those awards hang on my wall or sit on a special shelf. I appreciate all of them.
BUT none of them come close to this!
Even in the middle of the best, most benevolent and productive activities, it is wise to keep our eyes open for another kind of opportunity, a moment born within the one we are engaged in. A moment we dare not miss.
Our original plan isn’t always the best plan and what seems like an interruption may actually be an invitation to a witness a tiny miracle.
This is the story behind the painting that inspired my post “King of The Forest” and the lesson I learned from a little boy wearing a crown of leaves.