Days that Sparkle

There are days. When I was younger I watched for “days that sparkled.” On certain days or nights, there was a sense of magic, of wonder, of awe. They came few and far between but when they hit, I moved as slowly as possible through them so that every second, every moment, every image was captured.

Years back, God blessed me with the opportunity to begin a military ministry at my church. I have never been particularly social, getting to know new people is difficult and I’d just as soon skip it.  So starting a ministry, gathering folks together and investing in their lives was most certainly out of my comfort zone. Yet, I had no choice. God placed it on my heart and said do it. Rarely has something been so clear.

It started with a few women in a big room eating breakfast and awkwardly getting to know each other. My time with the ministry ended 10 years later with 300 men and women in the room and hundreds more of my military families spread all over the country, and the globe.

These families have given me more “days that sparkled” than anything else in my life. Deployments and homecomings, babies and more babies born, marriages, recommitments, baptisms, military balls, promotions, and the heart-wrenching losses. Time after time moments that have taken my breath away. Moments that seared into my memory and my heart forever.

A few years ago, we started attending retirements as my families “aged.” You know, that ripe old age of 40 when guys/gals hit their 20 years in service. With each ceremony we attend, I find myself in awe of the service and sacrifice these families, my families, give.

Two months ago we were invited to attend Lt. Col. Edward Powers retirement ceremony being held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia near MCB Quantico, VA.  The Powers have become close friends over the years, and we wouldn’t miss his retirement and launch into the next phase of their lives for anything.  Plus, there are probably only one or two retirement ceremonies left in our future and this one had the earmarking of “once in a lifetime.”

For those who know me, they know my blood runs red, white and blue. The United States Marine Corps is part of my DNA. My father, Capt. Lawrence W. Jordan died in combat in 1965 Vietnam. Growing up without a father, I embraced the USMC as an icon to look up to. The military ministry, my military families and these men and women serving our country could not be closer to my heart.  They could never know how much being in their lives has blessed and completed me.

Walking into the National Museum of the Marine Corps was moving – I was awestruck. I walked through the exhibits for the Korean War, Vietnam and Recruit Depot – all places my father served.  Lt. Col. Power’s ceremony was held smack dab in the center of the facility surrounded by inspirational quotes, large black and white images of heroes, military aircraft and entrances to the various exhibits from eras gone by.

The ceremony was powerful, moving and bittersweet highlighted by his son Charlie Powers singing the Star-Spangled Banner acapella. Watch the video – you won’t be sorry.

So there are days. Days that sparkle. Days that inspire. But, more importantly, there are men (and women) who embody the words: courage, strength, loyalty, integrity. These are the men and women who have woven the fabric of our Country. The fabric that is our freedom.

Thank you, Lt. Col. Edward Powers, you are a man among men, an inspiration, a Marine. It is an honor to know you and to walk along beside you. Semper Fi.