"This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.." - John 15:13, The Message
One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, I was driving East on Interstate 24, heading home following a trip into Nashville for a baby shower. It had been pouring rain all morning long and a heavy rain was falling on the drive home. It was still a little on the nippy side because we were experiencing a cool snap like I had mentioned in one of my previous posts.
I looked over to my left side, only to see that I would be coming up on a convoy of soldiers heading toward Murfreesboro. There were four vehicles involved. The final vehicle was a Hummer/mini tank, which was following three other green vehicles. They were laden with supplies that looked like they might be en route to help with tornado clean up efforts.
I should probably tell you that since 9-11, I have a developed a habit of personally thanking soldiers whenever I see one of them in uniform. I consider these guys and gals heroes of the greatest kind. So, I whenever I get the opportunity, as corny as it seems, I want to shake the hand of every soldier I meet, look them square in the eye and say thanks from a grateful heart. They get enough flack from a lot of others. I figure that it's the least I can do.
Back to the freeway.... As is true to my encouraging nature, I decided that on this rainy Saturday, in the middle of the freeway, I would try to make the day of some of our working boys and girls in green camoflauge...
As I passed the mini tank, I lowered the window of my pickup and stuck my short arm out as far as I could (thanks to the cooler weather, I was wearing a red jacket, I had no doubt they'd see it) and gave an enthusiastic thumbs up!!! I yelled, "Thank You, Guys!!! Thank You!!!" Then as best I could, I snapped what I thought to be a perfectly good civilian salute.
The response from the guys in green took my breath away.
A solitary soldier popped up through the top of the tank and stood at attention, with a full salute in the pouring rain! He remained at attention until I lost sight of them... or I guess he lost sight of me.
Here was a soldier, willingly putting himself in harm's way for our freedoms... and he was saluting... me!?!
The more I think about it, that's exactly what Jesus did for us. He willingly gave up His life so that we might live.
But freely given.
I'll leave you this Memorial Day weekend with these immortal words from the pen of Lee Greenwood:
"And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the Man Who died Who gave that right to me. And I'll proudly stand up next to you to defend her still today. For there ain't no doubt I love this land! God bless the USA!"
Happy Memorial Day.