Old Frogman ISO Old Frogman Lover

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Writing, friends, conversation, movies, restaurants, Bar-B-Ques...
About Me
Conservative libertarian, 73, likes light exersize, walks, friends, movies, Bar-B-Ques, museums...all the usual

I especially enjoy creative writing:

A Mother’s Prayer

I learned that prayer works when I found that my mother had prayed me back to life after I’d been shot dead in Vietnam.
During that night’s darkest hours the seven Navy SEALs of my fireteam patrolled a slice of Vietnam's Mekong Delta adjacent the South China Sea, the last thirty minutes spent crouched in the densest of jungle at the water’s edge, listening hard into to the night-birds’ screeches, insects’ buzzing, and the jungle’s anonymous moans, croaks and snaps—a wavering cacophony of sounds cleanly masking that of enemy movements.
When the glowing horizon stilled the noise we heard a junk’s closing whine, the same craft that had dropped us off the night before. Soon it nudged the overgrown shore, directly backing away as we stepped onboard.
Then—a dozen yards clear of land, just as the boat rotated, pointing its bow to seaward—the shoreline erupted with communist fire: assault rifle- and machine gun-bullets pelting the hull, the water around it churned to a boiling aquamarine stew by mortar blasts and rockets’ near misses—excepting the one detonating at the coxswains feet, flinging his corps across the cockpit, jamming the tiller to one side, and channeling the junk in taut circles inside the enemy cone of fire.
Dropping to the deck with both hands pressing the precious M16 to my chest, I slammed both elbows against the deck, painfully sustaining the instrument’s precision operation as I fired clipped bursts into the enemy’s fusillade, a barrage more fierce than any other I'd experienced in my months of combat. "We're dead,” I gasped, believing that we directly would be.
But, somehow, most of us survived the ensuing minutes.

Later at the US Naval Base pier, I stared at a new bullet hole through the hull just where I’d sprawled during the firefight. Glancing aside to the bloody patch where the corpsman had bandaged a wounded comrade; then back to that cryptic hole. I nodded to myself for that was indeed where I was throughout those longest of minutes. That one should-have got me! I thought. For more seconds I stared at the hole, wondering. Then I sighed, shrugging. Bullets are funny—often ricocheting off most anything.

Some few years passed. I was again a civilian, a regenerate civilian with a ripening interest in spirituality, the attraction clearly arising from my experience with the war’s genuine horror.
I’d been raised in a mainstream religion, religion that focused on a chancy promise of an afterlife, an afterlife seemingly only vaguely possible if one practiced a stiffly pious life’s myriad prescripts enough to actually put them into practice before a neurotic and fickle deity.
But Christian Science purportedly offered both answers to real-world questions, and solutions in the here and now for problems in those spheres. But though I may have been a student of the hereafter and the school of “It's right there in front of you before you where you can’t see it,” I was still a tenacious dilettante, attending services but infrequently, and scripture-study even less so.
Although on that ever-present other hand, the Church founder’s documented touchstone experience did quite intrigue me.
Her son fighting in the Civil War, Mary Baker Eddy received the worst news that a mother could, that her soldier-son was shot and not expected to live. So she prayed to know God’s truth about him. That truth being that God had created him in His own image so he was thus free from a bullet’s effect.
The first upshot of this was that her son survived what was then thought an inevitably-fatal wounding. And as the Army surely telegraphed his closest next of kin, his mother, it can be taken that she received it.
The second being that Mary Baker Eddy, would have implored that God spare her son, Which He did, making the instance less a fluke than it was just another answered prayer.
The third, for myself at least, comes from hours of Googling the business of spiritual healing, particularly that pertaining to dead people being prayed back to life. And that’s really dead as in “the rigor mortis just arrived, next is that devastating stench” dead then prayed back to life, not just snapped from the clinch of impendent death’s very teeth, as was Mrs. Eddy’s son.
As it turns out, History is awash with accounts, reports, chronicles, recollections—choose the noun befitting your specific, yawn, “perspective,” my boredom being directed at the agnostically/aesthetically-inclined reader, although I would most-unfeignedly doubt there are many of those.
“Why?” to which you might ask.
Because in my experience, those so disposed are often masters of denial. And you can make that routinely masters of denial, they being supremely adept at irreligious impartiality. That is, superbly proficient at the “impartially” of looking everywhere but directly at the evidence, conspicuous evidence that is both credulous and ubiquitous—
“—Nonsense!” might exclaim an ever-handy, atheistically-slanted agnostic.
“Were that the case,” he’d sneer, “then we’d have a situa—
“—A situation” I’d thrust-in at a choice word so I could repeat it for emphasis, “a situation wherein the referees are members of the home team!”
My abecedarian-esque divination into Christian Science’s shallow-end continued although a singular curiosity about spiritual healing drew me towards deeper inquiry.

I was living in my hometown when I walked into my parents' home where my mother was reading the Christian Science Monitor, a copy I'd left for her. Noticing me, she folded the newspaper as she stood from the sofa and, gently jabbing it toward me in emphasis began recounting the story of the miracle which saved Mrs. Eddy’s son.
I gently broke in, telling her I was familiar with the event.
Whereupon she said, “You know, Tom, I had the same thing happen when you were in Vietnam.
At this I stood motionless, silent, expectant. And oblivious to just where Mom might be taking me.
Yes, as she’d just said, Vietnam was where she was taking me—back to the very worst of it.
“It was the middle of the night,” she began, “when I woke up from a terrible dream where I saw you lying dead in a pool of blood on the floor of a ship, a wooden ship!”
She continued, “Well I knew that the navy didn’t have wooden ships any longer, but I prayed and prayed until I just knew that you were alright!”
No, I thought, the United States Navy didn’t then have wooden ships anymore than any nation’s ships ever had floors. A not-unpleasant quivering sped up my spine, but the Vietnamese navy did have wooden junks and sampans!
For some minutes Mom went on, leafing out details, sketching depictions that affirmed her dream's accuracy, an accuracy that matched my memory’s aspect by feature by facet.
Now, remembering, I suppose that all happened because God knows I’m so stubborn that it was not only the best way for Him to get my attention, it was likely the only way to get it—attention He has held for more than 50 years!
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