"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mum's party, 1985 (5)

     A veteran of World War II and Korea has written in longhand from an isolated cabin in the hills of North Carolina.
     "Having fought the Japanese in the Pacific, I was at Okinawa. The bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan, already pulverized, sick and starving, surrendered. My unit was one of the very first to set foot on Japanese soil and as luck would have it, we landed amid the ruins of Nagasaki.
     "I didn't know it at the time but what I saw and smelled at Nagasaki was going to burrow deep into my brain, to surface years later.
     "During the brief interlude between WWII and the Korean War, I was a badly shaken young man who didn't even know he was badly shaken. I was having nightmares every night, most of them involving Nagasaki.
     "I became absolutely terrified. I didn't know who I was. I woke up one morning to realize that my nice suburban home, the two nice cars in the garage, the swimming pool, my work, my lovely upper-middle-class wife, etc. --none of this had any meaning to me.
     "That's when I met Barbara Reynolds. She was the first American I'd met who truly understood the spiritual importance of Nagasaki. She didn't think I was crazy when I told her that I couldn't identify in any way with the standard American values. She understood the guilt that was clawing at the back of my mind.
     "She and I had one of those very rare relationships that almost never happens between a man and a woman: a brother-and-sister bond that confers total, complete trust and acceptance.
     "Barbara gave me the strength to get on with rebuilding both myself and my life. In those dark days when I first knew her, she may have even saved my life. Many's the night when I fired off six-page letters to her. Sometimes I wrote five long letters a week.
     "In the years from 1973 to 1981 I came to terms with America and myself, and I made a 'separate peace' which has lasted. I didn't pick up much in the way of a religion, but I did develop a philosophy and a set of values which have borne the test of time. I won the battle over cynicism, no small thing. I made the earthshaking discovery  that I could love and be loved.
     "The day never passes that I don't think of her. A true World Class Lady."

1 comment:

  1. This was very touching... You mother was such a wonderful person and she must have loved the Lord so much....