The pain is still there

The death of an American soldier in combat is painful. The agony of loss is heart-wrenching. I’ve looked at the faces of the dead, those who were beside me talking only a few moments ago.

I’ve looked in the faces of their friends; for some, friends for years: through basic training, AIT, and a first assignment together. These are friends who were in pain. Their grief was visible. Sometimes is came out in anger, sometimes in laughter, sometimes in tears, sometimes in rigid features that could not express the pain.

I’ve looked in the faces of their family members: wives, parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and others. Sharing memories with them was an a privilege. Hearing their memories was an even greater privilege.

Those men weren’t angels, but they are heroes. Cut down in the prime of life, they gave it all. None of them awakened thinking it would be a good day to die. Instead, they simply performed their duty, a duty that led them into harm’s way. They fulfilled their sworn duty with the full measure of their lives; they gave it all so I might live in peace.

The pain is still there for the families and the buddies. Yes, my own pain is still there, too. In some sense, it is compounded by knowing that those families and friends bear the pain; I suppose this is a pastor’s calling–to grieve and to bear the grief of others.

If you don’t know someone who gave his life for this country, ask me. I’ll tell you about these honorable men. They were my friends.


In grateful memory of those men of my military flock who died fighting our nation’s enemies:

  • Elias Elias
  • Allen Jaynes
  • Michael Balsley
  • Alexander Fuller
  • Jay Martin
  • Alexander Funcheon
  • Brian Botello
  • Eric Snell
  • Mikeal Miller
  • Jason Fabrizi
  • Tyler Parten
  • Michael Scusa
  • Christopher Griffin
  • Stephan Mace
  • Brian Pedro
  • Nathan Carse
  • Alexander Povilaitis
  • Tristan Wade

Comfort their families and their brothers in arms.

Not another wet head

I’m a perpetual fund raiser for nonprofits. I’m directly involved in leadership of three nonprofits, with which I play an important part in seeking donations, drafting budgets, and overseeing expenditures each year. I’m happy to say that donations to all three organizations increased last year and are on track to increase again this year, though I don’t claim this happened simply because of my involvement.

I’m also a perpetual giver to nonprofits: churches, schools, missions, civic organizations, and others. I enjoy giving to support the vision of groups I care about and goals I care about. Most importantly, I give to glorify God.

It’s great that folks are giving to support research of a particular disease, which may enable doctors to find new effective treatments for suffering patients. Unfortunately, the primary recipient of the millions that have been pouring in as a result of the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” is the ALS Association, an organization that directs some of its funds to support embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cell research, of course, relies on the destruction of embryos (fertilized eggs). In other words, the ALS Association supports the taking of life in order to conduct testing so others will not die of disease. Murdering the innocent is no way to enhance life and reduce suffering. Continue reading “Not another wet head”