Let Him Make it to the End
He looked at all the food on the table and the tears would not leave. He listened as his nephew said the prayer and the tears still came. He excused himself walked out of the kitchen door into the back yard pulled his pipe out of his pocket, stopped a moment and lit it, then walked to the edge of the yard and sit down on the bench he had put there when he had been a young man and tears never came.
He looked back toward the house; he had lived there for a long time, in fact, a life time. It was from that house that he had left for the Navy, flight school, and Vietnam. It was in that house that both of his parents had died while he was gone. They never knew that he was a ‘guest’ of the North Vietnam army. Those years had aged them, crushed them, and before the terror ended they were taken in a twist of events called an accident. He remember those five years of his own personal terror, the lost of faith, the regaining of faith and the desire to make it to the end, no matter how long that would take, he would make it to the end.
His sister had learned three weeks after their parent’s death that he was somewhere in a place called Hanoi, alive, and hopefully if all the diplomatic chess games worked with America and the enemy he would come home.
That had been forty years and more ago yet that first day seemed to him like only this morning. The house was empty then; his sister and her husband had kept it, repaired it, but left it vacant for the day he would return. He tried marriage but was terrible at it; He loved but never accepted the love of his wife. No children, no success he had just lived in the house worked at the simplest of jobs he could live with and made it one day to the next. For the rest of the world that war was long forgotten, the enemy now friends, and the pains of those five years not believed by most and considered deserved by some, but for him in the deep of his night he heard the silent sounds of that cell, smelled the filth of the place, and saw the hate of those who held him. He still felt the pain of bones unset and deep cuts untreated, to him the night never really ended, the prison was never left and he had yet to make it to the end. All that food on the table that his sister, her children and grandchildren had cooked was wonderful but for a moment he remembered the empty bowls that were shoved under his door and the hard dark bread placed in them that was to serve as the meal of the day.
Lt. Searcy Belton, USN, never left his prison, never made it to the end. The price he paid was not in years but in a lifetime. Unlike the story book tales that always end with ‘they lived happy ever after’ his book never ended. Somehow in some way we ask our Heavenly Father to heal his wounds when he greets him in glory and return to him the years so torn away. Ivan

Published in: on November 2, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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