Life from the rear-view mirror

He saved the world…but he can’t save himself … Vol 95

November 16, 2015 | Comment

The title is misleading…on purpose. I want to tell a story about a couple that I enrolled into a Medicare plan just a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday afternoon I met with a couple who were considering a change of Medicare plans. Bill and Marge (names have been changed)  were originally from Brooklyn, NY and had moved up to Rochester many years before to work for the big yellow box…(that’s Kodak if you’re not from these parts)
There was just a hint of the old Brooklyn accent left…which made the conversation feel like there was gonna be a “forget about it…” coming out of one of their mouths in that brash Brooklyn style at any moment.
Bill was really prepared to talk Medicare. His questions were well thought out, and he considered my responses carefully, taking notes on the enrollment kit he had procured from a friend or maybe from a meeting he had attended somewhere.
In the course of the conversation I learned that he had been a pilot in his younger days. (that always sparks a keen interest with me…) To look at Bill and his silver hair, I figured he had served in Vietnam… but it turns out that he flew P-51’s and B-17’s in WWII! After he told me that, with great delight, he leaned back in his chair and with a huge gesture and even bigger grin on his face he exclaimed “I saved the world!” That exclamation was accompanied by a heartfelt, belly laugh! I laughed right along with him…just a little in awe as the weight of his words and his bravado sunk in.
Marge sat at the table next to me clearly enjoying Bill’s antics.
Knowing quite a few fighter pilots as I do…it was a privilege and an honor to meet this 92 year old…just one of the men who truly changed the course of WWII and helped ensure that today we are speaking English and not German. I believe that with all my heart.

I will be forever grateful for the service of these heroic Americans.

The sad part of this story came later. I’m not sure how we got talking about church…but we did. Bill was very outspoken and mocked the Bible and the account of Adam and Eve, the flood….crossing of the Red Sea…pretty much all of it. “It’s all just a story for people who need that sort of thing…” he said as he gestured in a “I don’t need it” sort of way. He proceeded to tell me that none of his dead friends had once come back, or whispered in his ear or appeared in a dream even once to tell him about heaven or hell. So…he concluded it must not exist. Now it wasn’t like Bill had never been exposed to church…in fact he attended almost every week. He went to a large liturgical church where there was a lot of standing up, sitting down, kneeling and repeating things that the Priest would say. I asked him if he didn’t believe any of this…why go to church. He informed me that it was for the culture. The food…the dances…the friendship. Surprisingly God didn’t even make it to Bill’s top three reasons to go to church.

Then I thought about Bill’s earlier statement about saving the world…and the irony of it. If something didn’t change in Bill’s heart…this man who literally helped save the world from the oppression and tyranny of Nazi Germany would lose his soul to apathy and disbelief. Not because he was a sinner…we all are. But because he refused to believe that a relationship with God through Christ was for anybody but children. For anyone but those who needed stories to believe in.

I thank God for the stories in the Bible. I believe every one to be true. Even the parables are designed to teach us principles about a life lived for God with purpose and hope.

While I’m still thankful for men and women who paid a terrible sacrifice to help America stay free…I’m more thankful to my Savior who set me free eternally and waits for me to join him one day soon.

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