“You remind us that how you treat somebody defines who we are”
Quote by Col William Percival regarding his meeting with Gunter Grawe
a former German POW who was interred in Washington St at what is now
Joint Base Lewis-McChord— who, some 70 odd years later, returned at age
91 to visit the camp)
(a spotted orb weaver just outside my closet window—too close / Julie Cook / 2017)
He was mad at his ex mother-n-law and that’s why he did it.
Makes sense right?
No, I didn’t think so either….
But more on that in a bit….first the spider…
Those of you who know me know that I am quite terrified of spiders.
And much to the chagrin of my husband and daughter-n-law, my son seems to
have inherited this fanatical fear.
Some call it a phobia, I call it a state of paralyzing terror ….
Dealing with any kind of snake, any sort of reptile…is a piece of cake…..
but let an arachnid show up— and it’s all over but the screaming!
So when I opened the shutters the other morning in my closet, I was greeted
with the sight of this orb weaver having set up camp right outside my window.
It was all I could do to take the picture without perishing.
Yet don’t they say facing one’s fear is how to best beat it??
Well personally I think stomping, swatting, smashing or simply running away
screaming works just as well.
So you would think that I consider the spider to be my mortal enemy right?
Well, yes and no.
Now whereas a spider can indeed kill a person, chances are that is not going
happen, not unless you live in say Australia where their spiders are truly lethal.
But here in Georgia we have just a couple of “deadly” spiders.
We have the Black widow, the brown widow and the brown recluse—
with each one causing terrible reactions when one is bitten…
and if bitten just in the right spot, a bite could actually lead to death—-
Yet those odds are not as great as just suffering form severe tissue loss
at the site of the wound.
And whereas I do “fear” spiders, they are not my true mortal enemy.
My true mortal enemy however does walk this earth.
He is very much, and for the loss of a better association of words,
alive and well.
I’m talking about that which comprises all evil…
Satan, a dark and sinister ironic bearer of light.
On Sunday our Nation witnessed another unimaginable horror.
The senseless and tragic mass shooting of a church congregation.
Just like most everyone else, a peaceful fall November Sunday was suddenly
punctuated by Breaking News…with word coming out of a tiny town in Texas that
a gunman had gone into an equally tiny Baptist Church shooting, killing and
wounding almost the entire congregation present during that morning’s service.
I sat glued to the television as I kept checking my phone and computer for the latest
updates. Like Newtown’s Sandy Hook…it seemed as if madness had once again,
crossed that imaginary uncrossable line.
Not that each time we have a mass tragedy it isn’t madness…it’s just that we,
as humans, seem to believe that some things are off limits when it comes to
that which is horrible….
yet sadly we are learning that nothing, absolutely nothing, remains “off limits” to
that which is Evil.
I was perplexed, as I was reading the updates, as they were laced with the personal observations of those who immediately began calling for the banning of guns or that
this had somehow been Trump’s fault…
on and on went the litany of blame.
Because that’s how we now seem to be as a people—it’s how we seem to deal with
We don’t even wait for full details.
We don’t allow for shock which gives way to grief and sorrow…
Rather we immediately seek a reason, a rationale, an answer—
because, by God, there has to be an answer…otherwise we have no option but to
acknowledge that there are just some things totally beyond us and beyond our control…
and we just can’t handle that idea…
I posted a comment the other day on a fellow blogger’s site with much the same
sentiment—as person after person kept asking how and why…
I knew how and I knew why.
People were pointing accusatory fingers…”this is the fault of the NRA,
“it’s the fault of the Republicans”,
“this is the fault of those who support the President”
“this is the fault of white America”….on and on went the ugly banter….
Was it President Clinton’s fault for Columbine?
Was it President Obama’s fault for Sandy Hook?
Just like this is not the fault of President Trump.
A man who claimed he had issues with his former in-law’s.
A man who had actually filed legally for the application to possess
a gun license despite having a criminal past.
A man who had been courtmartialed.
A man who had been held in Military detainment for a year.
A man who had beaten his wife and fractured his stepson’s skull.
A man who had assaulted his own dog…
A man who had been dishonorably discharged from the AirForce….
…this man walks into his former in-law’s church and destroyed as much life
as he possibly could….as the in-laws weren’t even present.
There are no reasons…
because anything remotely attempting to be a reason
would merely be an excuse—because simply put, there are no reasons for this.
It would not have mattered if all the guns were gone.
I heard last night some stats to the effect that if all the guns were banned right
this very moment, there would still be 5 million out there.
So then you’d have those folks going door to door collecting—
You can collect all the guns you want but when you have Evil intent on evil,
it matters not if there are guns, or trucks, or bombs, or hatchets, or
planes or poison—
Evil will destroy everything in its wake when it so desires…
that is what Evil does.
And so we now consider the opening quote I chose to use this morning…
I follow a terrific blog—Pacific Paratrooper—a great blog about the history
of WWII with the specifics being confined to the fighting on the Pacific front.
The history lessons are excellent as well as the stories of those brave men
and women who fought and served, yet are leaving us daily due to time and age…
Yesterday’s story was about a former German POW who was interred actually here in the States for three years until the War’s end.
It seems that 4000 or so German prisoners of war were actually held here in the
Their experience here being a far cry from those prisoners who were held in the
Death Camps of Nazi Germany and even later, those held in the Gulags of the USSR.
Herr Grawe, at 91, wanted to come back to visit the US camp,
wanting to see one last time, the place that he has long admitted actually
He declared his capture by the Americans at the age of 18 was “his luckiest day,”
“No guard called us nasty names. I had a better life as a prisoner than
my mother and sister back home in Germany.”
On the flip side we have seen those former surviving prisoners who have returned,
albeit reluctantly or be it defiantly, to view the German death camps…
camps they survived but places in which left them permanently damaged.
A contrast of human survival…survival at the hands of fellow human beings.
Col. Percival reminds us that we are defined by how we treat others.
So in the upcoming days, weeks and months we as a Nation will be judged by a world
who looks intently at how we will react to our latest sorrow.
But in all of this, it would behoove each of us to remember who the real enemy is….
and that is Satan…..
the master of all lies and deception, the creator of all hate and division.
Our mortal enemy…..
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath,
for it is written:
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.
On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It’s really refreshing to hear a message like this in a world that seems to think this sort of talk is nonsense or even archaic. By God’s grace I’ve seen no prayer answered so often as praying for someone who’s offended and I hope others have done the same for me as well.
oh so true Edward—thank you for your kind words—as we must now all join the energies of our sorrow and outrage into the focused prayers for this small town and for all the lives taken and for all who now must move forward without those they loved…
The madness continues. I believe that this man and many like him probably suffered from PTSD or had some mental issues before even entering the air force. Our nation has a long way to go in the treatment of the mentally ill. This epidemic is almost as voracious as cocaine or prescription drug addiction.
Treatment for mental illness has become a multi-million dollar drug industry in exchange for getting at the root of the problem. I’m afraid, in our attempt to be more humane, we have done a great disservice to those who suffer with this disease. Today drugs are the answer to just about every ailment out there. The problem is the drugs are extremely difficult to tolerate and many refuse to take them, so what good do they do? The answer for how to treat this is a tough one, because it requires a lot of time, therapy and follow up, which is inconvenient for most. Like the pain in my back won’t go away with a pill. I may have to learn to live with it, but getting to the root of the problem is the only way to get better.
and here we see that there will be those now living with the unseen pain of loss and sorrow—
there are no answers….
GOD IS THE ONLY ANSWER AND HE IS WORKING THROUGH THIS EVENT TO SOMEHOW MAKE SENSE OF IT.
Truly so Kathy!!
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Thank you GW- hugs from SC
You’re very welcome SC 🍪🍪 and hugs from your favorite 🐛🐛😍😎
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Many thanks my friend
Outstanding analysis, Julie! You have such wisdom and express it so well! Thank you for putting it all into words for all of us.
Thank you Lynn – it’s just all still so surreal
Great stuff, as always Julie. I seem to be recycling my comment here and there, but it fits here the best, you identified clearly just who the true enemy is. It’s not the NRA, and it’s not even the liberal’s. Is is our adversary, Satan. I have been in prayer that Christians won’t hunker down and isolate based in this, but understand that only one thing can even put a dent in the evil of this world, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we can’t deliver that into the world if we are either hiding from the world or acting like the people of the world are our enemy when they are not.
Yes Wally— may worry is now the clamoring of security— hire security, but up cameras, get metal detectors on and on— but I don’t recall Peter, Paul etc ever worrying over security details— this new mindset of fear is worrisome
Exactly, Julie, exactly. It’s a tough thing really. I just am unsure about how big a role any type of “official” security has in a house of God. Part of the purpose of “security” is to keep out folks we think might not be on the up an up. I just am not sure that is a mindset we want to adopt in churches. As counter intuitive as it sounds, the raging heathen are actually who needs to be let it. I can give an example. In our town is a Muslim fellow who runs a convenience store. I have talked to him off and on for a couple of years, and even know pray sometimes that I will see him walk in the door and say hello, how are you. Imagine a congregation full of armed people, and how something like that could possibly end. It is a dilemma for sure.
I don’t like where all this is going.
Growing up in Atlanta, attending a large midtown Cathedral, the doors were always open but security hung out at night—then there was a rash of burglaries at churches so doors were locked at a certain time—meaning–if you needed, wanted to slip into a quiet chapel in a moment of need—well…you wouldn’t be doing that in a church as they are all locked up—-which I hate. I get it, but I hate it…..
That part makes sense, our doors are always locked unless it’s time for people to be around. Of course, out our way, folks aren’t just wandering around looking for a chapel, either.