Hardly seems possible. The Wizard of OZ, Santa and the Tooth-fairy seem more likely than to say that 25 years ago today I was eating my first breakfast – having not slept for more than 24 hours – on Parris Island.
My Marnie adventure was just beginning and everything was moving so fast that I had little time to think. That’s not a bad thing – really.
My time in the Marines is a mixed bag of emotion for me.
On the one hand, I spent the required amount of time, overcame all the obstacles, met all the requirements necessary to become a Marine. I walked across the parade deck and was declared a “Marine”. That can never be taken away from me.
“Once a Marine always a Marine”
The truth is, I am harder on myself about my service than others – especially other Marines. I did not complete even one tour – in fact I received my discharge – Honorable of course – without actually entering the Fleet.
I did not serve as long as most Marines – though I managed longer than some – and according to the official service calendar – I do not qualify as a veteran. One of the many things that contributes to my sketchy emotions.
Despite that, I treasure my time on “the Island.” I wouldn’t trade those months or the time that followed in MCT – Marine Custodial Training, if I remember correctly – for anything and I definitely would not go back and NOT do it again.
I learned a lot about myself then – though it would be years before I truly understood EVERYTHING I had learned – much less how to use it all.
Almost every year at this time I look back on these last two days, the 5th and 6th, as seminal moments for me; moments that would both haunt and inspire me for the rest of my life.
As I embark on a “new adventure” taking my life’s experiences and trying to turn them into material for comedy – I am frequently met with the memories of my last days as an active duty Marine; consumed with the idea that I quit the Corps, I quit football and more than once, I have quit writing this blog or in general.
So what do I do with it all? Sometimes, I allow it to overwhelm me – forgetting how BIG my God really is. Sometimes I succumb to the depression that rides shotgun on most of the memories I have abut that period of my life.
Sometimes I do not.
More and more, I am holing on to the promises God weaved through the bible as way to remind us ALL that even in the most difficult of circumstances HE IS THERE.
There are several scriptures that people point to – often incorrectly – to illustrate God’s desire for us to experience all the GOOD things this life has to offer. For me, there is no better example than Romans 8:28. This promise can be claimed by anyone – as long as you “love God and are called according to His purpose.” AND I AM.
It’s not easy when I write a bad joke or have a bad set in front of any size audience to remember that promise but when I don’t allow myself to quit, quit writing, quit performing or working as hard as I can to get better or earn more stage time then I can clearly see how God really does make ALL things work – for our good. We just have to let him.
Has there been anything in your life – past or present – that you have allowed to keep you from moving on to God’s will for your life or used as motivation to achieve a new or better relationship with Him and ultimately reach the goals you want? Leave me a comment below and let’s talk it out.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior keep you until we meet.
Romans 8:28 is probably my favorite verse in scripture. It’s pretty cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason. I know that, like you, my failures and the things I’ve quit sometimes haunt me the most. But God works all for good. I think a lot of the ways he is working my past for good is by inspiring me to work harder in the present – to live now so that I have no regrets in the future.
Loren, that is EXACTLY how I try to look at every situation – as a chance to NOT repeat mistakes and consequently live with regrets by allowing them to dictate how I live as opposed to scripture. Thanks for stopping by!