Monday, November 14, 2011

Strong and Free, Defined - Belec

by Glynis M. Belec
A friend posted this picture on Facebook last week. As a child of WWII veterans, it held a powerful message for me. And this timely addition to the social networking roadway, certainly has sparked conversation. I have entered into a discussion or two about our present state of society with more than one over the last few days and for some reason it is not leaving my brain.
Mom, who passed away in 2007, was a former ATS - Auxiliary Territorial Services - during the war and poppa bear who is still very much alive and in possession of all his marbles, served valiantly from 1942 - 1954 in the Royal Marine 45 Commando Division.

I nodded my head in agreement when I saw these juxtapositioned pictures and read the captions. When I showed this picture to Dad to get his opionion, I think I saw a tear.

 "They have no idea..." was all he uttered.

Dad - 'marching' in the Remembrance Day parade November 11/11
I gave him a hug and helped him don his beret in time for the Remembrance Day parade. His gnarled fingers and the limited range of motion now evident in his battle-weary body interrupts his activities of daily living. Although, for 85 years of age, he does well and still manages to live alone. We keep a close eye on him and look after all his needs, just so that he can stay in his own home.
"They'll have to carry me out!" is his battle cry if anyone dare ask him about moving. I love his spunk and spirit. My sister and I are doing everything we can to help his remaining years be happy and stress free. (We have often said he might just outlive us~)
As I look again at this contrasting picture, I wonder why are we like this today? What is the difference between 'then' and 'now'? Between my Dad's willingness to enlist and today's desire to resist? Why were the boys so willing to give all back then, but now the prevailing message is take as much as you can and make everything about self?
I am probably quick to waggle my finger and nod in agreement as I consider the underlying message in this picture. But then I wonder. The boys who gave it all didn't have everything handed to them on a silver platter. People worked together and looked out for  each other. Families weren't little entities with absent parents and the divorce rate was certainly no where near what it is today. My hubby said his mother would send him out to play in the summer and he would only reappear for meals and when it got dark. Not such a wise idea nowadays. [No parent in their right minds would allow that in this day and age.  Besides, they would likely be reported if they did.] Yep, in our quest for a better life, it seems we have erred somewhere along the way.  It becomes more and more obvious that  we no longer live in a safe world where everyone watched your back. It's a different world. It's a different society. Me first. What about me? What can I get out of it? I want...want...want...

God must look down and shake his head somedays. How he must weep for the mess we are making of His creation. Looking at that first picture does make me feel a little hopeless. Then I remember our Lord Jesus. I remember the first memory verse I learned as a Christian...For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost - Luke 19:10
Yes, I suppose we do appear as a sorry excuse for humankind sometimes. Maybe we need to be reminded that Jesus came to save us from our brokenness and always gives us a second chance [and a third, a fourth, a fifth...]
They do say - a picture is worth a thousand words.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Glynis, what a clear commentary on the human condition (in which I too, share -- perhaps to my shame), encapsulated in the juxtaposed photos - forming a classic example of "a picture is worth a thousand words."
Thank you for sharing your heartwarming story of your parents' WWII service, and your dad's comments (hmm, I superimposed a crusty Scottish accent on them as I read).
Bless 'im . . . and bless you. :)

Popular Posts