A Time For Everything

Nancy signed the receipt for the postman and took the large padded envelope. She looked at the return address and saw for the first time in over 20 years The Department of the Navy. She could still remember that day so long ago when she opened the letter that informed her that her husband, Lt.Cdr. Williams Simms was now being declared Killed in Action, taking him off of the Missing In Action list that he had been on for the past three years.  The Vietnam government had determined that his body was one of six Americans that had been buried in the area where his plane had been shot down.  That day she had sit on the porch swing and wept. She had known in her heart all along that Bill would not come home. His wingman had come by to see her a few months after he was listed as MIA and assured her that he had seen his chute open but when he made a pass over the area his body was without motion and the enemy were closing in on him still firing. Bill had never had a chance, shot even before his feet hit the ground, his wingman had said, weeping as he told her the story and relieved those terrible moments over North Vietnam.

What could this padded envelope mean? She held it like it might explode, read each word in the return address and gathered the strength to pull the string and open the package.

Nancy’s eyes filled with tears as she read the formal letter from the Navy telling her that someone in Vietnam had sent her a letter and cloth wrapped package through the embassy in China and on to Japan. The letter and a small wrapped package were in the envelope as was a translation into English.

Nancy opened the original letter, saw its strange writing, and then pulled out the translation. As she read it her tears now flowed like small rivers down each side of her face.

It said; many years ago when I was a solider an American plane was shot down over the area where my company was patrolling. We saw him coming down in a parachute and several of us fired at him as his body swung under the slow chute. We kept on shooting after he hit the ground and then my buddies begin to take everything of value from his lifeless body.  By the time I reached him the only thing of value was a chain with what you Americans call ‘dog tags’ and a simple gold cross around his neck.  I quickly jerked it off and kept it as a souvenir of the war.

A year or so ago while visiting in Japan I heard a Christian preacher tell about Jesus and later when I returned I found a group of believer in Vietnam.  In time I too became a believer and begin to attend our little house church. A few weeks ago our pastor read the words from Ecclesiastes the third chapter about their being a time for everything. While I was listing I remember that chain, the ‘dog tags’ and the gold cross. As soon as we got home I begin to search for the small cloth package I had kept all these years.  Since God said there was a time for everything I though maybe this was the time for me to send this chain back to that American’s family who had died in our jungle so long ago. Not only do I send the chain, ‘dog tags’ and cross but I send my sorrow and my tears for the ’man’ I was not that day, and I ask that his family might forgive me for then I did not know about the God of a Time for Everything. I send this small package and letter to the government and hope that it will get to the right people. I sent it in my heart to God that He might give my tears to that American pilot.

Nancy opened the cloth bag and ran her fingers over the ‘dog tags’ and gold cross which she had given to Bill as he left for Nam.  The tears did flow and her bible was wet with them as she turned to Ecclesiastes 3 and read of The Time for Everything.

She looked up to heaven and said ‘Thank You God” clutched the chain in her hand and took Time to weep; knowing that a Time to laugh would also come, for in God there is a Time for Everything.

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Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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