By Joe Mayer
Before Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, He reassured Martha, Lazarus’ sister. He said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never, never die; do you believe this?” It’s very comforting to know that the L-rd understands our sorrow and reaches out to us with Jesus.
I was recently looking at a picture of my father holding me when I was only a few days old in our family room. I noticed that the picture was taken in the same place my father’s bed lay before he passed. What a blessing in my life to have my father watch me take my first breath into this world and I was there to be with his last breath. For as long as Joey and I live, we will never forget those final moments. Not only for myself but also for my Dad. Joey is a true blessing. Just being there was a true gift.
If I had to best describe my Dad, he was by far the most humble man I have ever known. When you look at his past and read all the documents from the Navy, Marines, even a letter from President Truman, you start to realize what a true hero he was.
My father, like his father before him, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Reserve as a basically trained Private and later became a Navy Hospitalman. During his time in service, he participated in the Korean War with the 1st Medical Battalion, 1st MArDiv, Fleet Marine Forces engaged in heavy fighting at the Chosin Reservoir, which was know to many as the “Frozen Chosin”. It was at this time in history that my Dad, under heavy fire and with no regard for his own safety, saved no less than 20 Marines and treated many more wounded, ultimately falling to enemy fire himself. My Dad earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat “V” with a Presidential Unit Citation with Star, and the United Nations Ribbon for his uncommon valor in the face of certain death.
My Dad never talked about the war in great detail. He would only say that it was his honor to serve. He risked everything to save many. It was this spirit of giving your all that transcended from his life into mine. He taught me the values of working hard and never giving up and doing the best you can even when you think it’s an impossible task.
Out of the million things my Dad taught me, the most important thing was to love the L-rd with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your might. It is these principles that guide me to this day and keep me focused on serving the L-rd and shepherding my own family.
I stand before you now as an orphan, but now I understand how my Mom and Dad would long to see their parents once again. My father’s life on earth was just a thin layer of time over an eternity with the L-rd. And just as Lazarus’ family wept over his loss, I weep over my loss. However, I am reassured by my L-rd and Savior that we will meet again.
I pray that you have the reassurance that only Christ can give. May the L-rd bless you and keep you safe. May the L-rd shine His light upon you.