Crying or Dying?

Sometimes I feel cursed with always wanting more, doing more, whether its for myself or others. I am unfulfilled and I don’t know why. One of my grandfather’s died when I was twelve or thirteen. I can’t remember what I felt about it. I’ve seen pictures of me at the the funeral and I look sad, but don’t remember what I felt, if anything. I don’t remember thinking he went to Heaven or somewhere else. I know I loved him and still brag about him every chance I get.

Alcohol played a big part of my life when I was a teenager. I drank and drove all the time. All my friends did. All of us made it through those years alive. I didn’t know how or why, at that time.  In 1967 I could have been drafted but decided to join the Navy, where I thought I stood the least chance of being killed. One reason that pushed me in that direction was hearing my parents argue one night that they weren’t going to pay for me to go to college so I could party the whole time. Can’t blame them for that. So I snuck off and enlisted.

My thinking then was being a live to see my 21st birthday, so I could legally do something I had been doing illegally for the past four years. I still went to Vietnam, but never had to shoot at anyone and better yet, no one was shooting at me. Even though I worked hard supplying ammunition at sea to aircraft carriers, destroyers and battleships, I think I skated through,  especially when so many others my age were dying.

After two years in the service I began experimenting with drugs. I had a mentor who had done everything, who very soberly told me that if I did certain things, like shooting, I would do them again. I guess the high was so unbelievable that it would be nearly impossible to stop. Taking his advice, I never did. But, I did just about everything else for the next five years. People were dying from some of the things I was doing, but as I said, I had a mentor who walked me through everything, held my hand. He was a good teacher.

I quit doing all drugs when I accepted Jesus as my savior in 1974. I also learned to limit my alcohol consumption. During the next year when I was serving as sort of a missionary my favorite grandfather died. I had not seen him much since leaving high school after serving 4 years in the military and 3 years in college and now on the mission field. One of my biggest regrets was not leaving the field to go to his funeral. He taught me how to fish and enjoy life and the thrill of hooking a largemouth bass when it was so dark you couldn’t even see the jitterbug skittering across the top of the water! This was the grandfather I was named after.

I was 26 then and now I am 62. I have a lot to be thankful for. My life is very simple, but it seems like I am always looking for ways to complicate it. Can anyone relate to what I am saying?

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About fredswolfe

I was born in 1949 and raised in Paris, Illinois. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1967 and received an assignment to serve aboard the U.S.S. Mauna Loa, AE-8 off the coast of Vietnam. During my three years and nine months of active duty, I toured the Mediterranean Sea twice and the Caribbean Sea once. What an experience to look back on! I was separated from the Navy three months early to attend College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Near the end of my first term as Student Body President, I received Jesus Christ and became born again in 1974. I have been studying the Bible, The Word of God and teaching others ever since. I have been married for thirty five years to my wife Joanne, from Whitestone, New York. We are the proud parents of two grown sons and two granddaughters and two grandsons. We have lived in Illinois, New York, Arizona and California, where we now make our home, in Marina Del Rey.

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