Well, I've had an interesting life.
I've seen a number of wars: WW 2; Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, and numerous "small wars" in between.
Saw one president assassinated, at least 3 other attempts: Truman, Ford, Reagan; and had the job of protecting LBJ during my days at a Texas base where he landed to board ground transportation to his ranch. At least he didn't get shot on my watch.....
Went through high aspirations for a personal career in politics which culminated in working tirelessly for a candidate whose loss rivals Alf Landon's defeat by FDR. Then transferred that idealism to the world of military operations and offered myself in the battle to "save the world from the Red Menace". My mother's only two brothers were both killed in WW 2; in the Vietnam War, I lost dozens of friends and buddies, comrades in a way no one who has not been there will ever understand. I remember sitting in the snack bar lounge at Elmendorf Air Base in Alaska night after night as the medevac flights from Vietnam (via Tokyo) landed to refuel, seeing the walking wounded de-plane, come in for a coke, viewing their missing limbs and broken bodies, leaving me to wonder how much worse were the guys lying in hammocks on the plane, those who were unable to walk at all?
I came out of the military thoroughly radicalized politically, returned to university and joined with my old friends, some of whom had served and returned, others who dodged the draft and stayed home. United again, we took an active part in the anti-war movement, burned our 214s and threw our medals back toward any "establishment" figure. Being an active participant in that time, in that place, in that culture, I was a soldier in the Sexual Revolution and an entrepreneur in the Drug Business.
Sensing the futility of that lifestyle, I walked away from it cold one night and moved to Louisville, then quickly on to Nashville. The morning after my arrival in Music City, I drove down Galatin Road and rented an apartment in East Nashville. Next door lived a young woman whose parking place I accidentally co-opted, necessitating a conversation and introduction. About 40 years later, she's still here, in the next room, hardly ever further away than that.
Reading this now, one can begin to see God's hand in all this: my survival of the war, my survival of the post-war madness; my meeting Carolyn. But at that time, I saw nothing. I was blind. The whole "move to Nashville" thing was for the purpose of establishing myself as a writer of music. Meeting and marrying this school teacher seemed to fit right in. She could teach and earn money while I sat at the typewriter all day waiting for the creative epiphany. That didn't work out. We married in April and she quit teaching in May! So, I had to go to work.
We moved to Florida, had our first child, moved back to Tennessee, and have been here ever since. We had five children, buried two, seen three grow to maturity, suffer, struggle, succeed, fail, fall, flounder and survive. We've given up work and business and have thoroughly retired to a place in the woods, quite primitive, which Carolyn described within minutes of first seeing it, as "the place I've always dreamed of".
In 1976, God by His unfathomable mercy and grace saved me from the wrath I justly deserve. Though I "surrendered" to a life of Christian service and ministry shortly thereafter, only in recent years have I had any sense of doing anything which really glorifies Him, and that in a very inadequate way. Through all this, through the teaching of His Word by His Spirit, He has shaped my thinking, re-shaped it from the view of the world where man is exalted to a view in which God is central.
So, when I look back upon all which at one time seemed so important, I understand the scripture which says: All is vanity. I see the country I once fantasized about leading politically, the country I took up arms for, the country I would not leave for any other residence on earth, going further and further into rebellion against God, further into idolatry, further into sin of the most depraved forms. I see no hope for this country. Though I could list sin after sin which blot the soul of this nation, I will mention only one for it is more than enough to justify God's wrath and destruction: the murder of millions of unborn children, murders which have been condoned, abetted, and even financed by the government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" of the United States.
Now, while most of the nation, yea, the world, celebrates the inauguration of our first Black President, I see the nation taking one more great stride toward destruction. The implementation of this administration's pro-abortion policies, already in motion on this first full day in office, sound the death knell for America. My sense is that we, as a nation, have "crossed God's deadline." There is no turning back. How can we undo 50 million murders since 1973? God has given this nation over to a reprobate mind; He has written "Ichabod" over the Seal of the United States. And I want to be clear that I am speaking of the nation as a nation, not about individual persons. God will save his children who are resident here, calling them out one-by-one as He has always done. This nation however is bound for judgment.
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
So, as I see my life coming to a close here (though God might surprise me and keep me around a lot longer than I expect) I have no regrets about departing this world. I pray that when He takes me out of here, I won't be found clinging by my fingernails to the stuff of this world, trying to maintain a grip on this corrupt and dying society.
There is one thing I see which offers great encouragement so far as the affairs of men in this world. Though the "church" is corrupt and becoming more so every day, not just "in the world" but very much "of the world," there is always that faithful remnant. I see a whole generation of young preachers being raised up, preachers who are convinced of not just the inerrancy of the scriptures, but their sufficiency. These men have returned to the Truth which gave birth to the Reformation and they are preaching it faithfully. I think that in the 30 to 40 years it takes these fellows to get to my present age, God will make one "last call" for America. There will be that time of revival where His true church radiates the Gospel and God brings many sons to glory. I'm excited by that prospect. It would be nice to be here for it, but if not, I shall have a great view: I'll be among the myriads and myriads experiencing that "joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner who repents."
An interesting life, and very soon to be infinitely more interesting........
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.