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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Personal / Mel's Odd Stuff Welcome Guest
    Mel's Odd Stuff
          Just a bunch of odds and ends. Life is strange sometimes, so this will probably be strange, too...

    Sun, Apr 2nd - 1:09AM

    To begin...

    I do not know where this will all eventually go and what all I will share, but I have a place to start.  This is background information, for the most part, but I will digress from time to time and have to pull myself back on point.  Parts of who I am may become clearer to you.  The good, the bad and the true uniqueness that makes each of so different and precious to this world that God has put us in. (to serve him, and in so doing, better ourselves)

    The Commander of my Maintenance Group (a military unit) is retiring and we just went through a change of command ceremony for the handing over of the reins to his replacement.  To be honest, my impression of him had always been of a quiet and good man.  I gained the impression that he was greater than that and that I am poorer for not having known him better.  I asked him if I could mention him by name, and he said yes, but I think I am wiser not to.  He is Catholic.  How devout, I don't know, but I try not to judge my own faith too closely, much less that of others.

    These ceremonies have great importance for me.  I am only 3 years or so away from high year tenure, which will mean I will have to retire soon enough.  I hope that someone will have good things to say about me, but won't overdo it to the point that I am embarassed by it.  It should not be too hard to not say too much, since I get comments about my lower rank than my peers all the time, and the truth is, I have some understanding of why.  Some of those reasons are matters that whether or not anyone else sees it the same as I do, I see it as a good reflection on what I have done.  To crudely paraphrase, I am known to be very willing to "Take a whiz in someone's Wheaties" if it is what it takes to get the job done.  I am not a natural leader, and shun the burden of it most usually.  If I am actively leading, it usually is not a good sign, because it generally means something is going on that I must respond against.  I am a rebel who fortunately has gotten a little wiser with age.  Other things that I understand are obviously big boo boos of my own blind failings.  I don't kick myself too hard for those, looking instead to the examples of David's own failings and God's love for him despite all of that.

    This all has something to do with a strange little thing that bewilders me:  I have 8 meritorious service ribbons.  Those of you who know can tell you that to have 4 or 5 is unusual.  To have 8 is quite unheard of.  And yet I obviously I am not the perfect person, so how did this happen?  To be honest, I should never think I could fully understand this, but I still try anyways.  The best I can come up with is this:  I try to live by a code of loyalty, and two other little rules.  Strangely enough, as many times as I have thought of it, it became much clearer while I was standing at attention and parade rest during this somewhat long ceremony what this means.

    This is what I call a conceit, an idea that may not hold up but is amusing to me.  So I will explain.

    As I mentioned, I have been thinking about my retirement, even though it is not just around the corner.  I would like to give something back with meaning when I retire.  Most usually, gifts and awards are given to the person leaving, but I know that I will feel that I have been blessed to serve with those that I will leave behind and because of that, they deserve a gift as much as I do.

    Like a lot of my ideas, this one is complex, full of hidden personal meaning, and likely as not will not happen.  (don't you just love the proper use of the double negative?)  What I would like to do is pass on something symbolic of a meaningful thing I have learned.

    Someone way back in my military career gave me advice that I can only paraphrase and not even know truly who to attribute it to.  They deserve the praise for this, but I cannot give it to them.  It goes something like this:  "Loyalty is the one coin you can give out again and again, even to those who don't deserve it, and eventually it will come back to you."  I took it to heart, and I think it works in all walks of life.  I'd like to make a coin that symbolizes that and give it to everyone who goes to my retirement.  I have been thinking of the design, the meaning of the design, and even the true meaning of loyalty.

    Loyalty does not mean lying for someone.  It means to stand against them for their own good when you must.  Loyalty is making a sacrifice for someone who asks a small thing of you, even if you see the benefit to them as smaller than the cost you are paying.  You never know just how important those small things may be seen through their eyes.  Loyalty means feeling for others in their distress and doing what you can when you can, without waiting for them to ask.  Many of us are too proud to ask even when we should.

    Three aspects.  Truth. (integrity)  Steadfastness. (willingness to help/bless)  Compassion.  (walking in their boots)  What came to me in the ceremony is that these three aspects relate to God in a very real way.  The Spirit is Truth.  The Father is Steadfastness.  The Son is Compassion.  And loyalty, in its own way, is LOVE.  I don't often see myself as very loving, but maybe I am in a very subtle way.  That was another striking revelation for me.  The military often talks of family.  They are, in their own way.  Most people Love their family.  Yet we in the military are generally (pun) afraid to say that we Love our brothers and sisters in arms as we do our family.  I find that strange and sad.

    I won't go into the design of the coin.  It is not really relevant.  The idea is what is important.

    I have not been any superhuman performer, at least as I see it.  I don't try to excell at everything, I just try to put a little extra effort in here and there.  I am fearful of burning myself out.  (I rely, and wrongly so, on my own strength)  Anyone could do as I did.  The standard is not too high, and even allows you to mess up, and royally so, from time to time.  Grace.  That is the coin I recieved in return.  I want to give that precious concept to everyone.  If they don't accept it from God, at least they can begin to accept it in a small and personal way from those around them.  Maybe that is the seed I can plant.  Maybe later they will warm up to the idea of God's Grace.

    Since I mentioned them, I'll relate the two other little rules that date back to my days in high school.  I never want to do anything I would be compelled to lie about.  (I fail there often enough without trying to allow it)  I want to be better today than I was yesterday.  (I fail on that, too to be certain)  I sometimes say that I want to be better tommorow than I am today, but that is negative when it comes from me.   For you, that might be a more positive way to view it.

    I think this small set of values are in line with God's word, but they are not God's word.  Don't just take these up without thinking about them and challenging them.  Don't be afraid to challenge me on them.

    I am tired, so as much as I'd like to continue, I will call it a night.

    God Bless us all, everyone!


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    About Me

    Name: Mel Miller
    ChristiansUnite ID: lylejr
    Member Since: 2005-09-28
    Location: Aurora, Colorado, United States
    Denomination: Christian
    About Me: I've been a christian for some time, but squandered my time and talents 'in a foreign land' I have been in the military (active and reserves) for 33 years. (now retired) I have two lovely daughters, and life seems to often be strange to me.

    April 2006
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