The News Tribune logo

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hope and the American Heartache

When I saw this car the other morning, waiting wearily on a Tacoma street, I thought of how much I had wanted my own car back when I was a teenager.
"In the day, however," I did not feel in any way left out, riding the bus. I remember on a number of college dates, either busing it, or heading down town with my very obliging fried on foot, easily getting to the movie theatre on time for an early evening showing of the latest and greatest (we're talking the original Psycho, friends) and having enough money to cover the film for two, popcorn, and a hamburger and soda before we walked back to her home.
I wonder what happened to this very special car... someone's dream came to a hard, hard end.

And I was one of those very idealistic young men who was ready to give my life to defend my country. The Korean War had me frightened... Korea would fall, then all of Asia, and soon, very soon the enemy would be dropping bombs right on my doorsteps.
I was in the ROTC in college, and so very thrilled to be doing well (B's and C's) in the classroom and on the field. I had no idea what function I would play in the Army but I was determine to join my buddies in the ROTC and defend "truth, justice, and the American way."

I ended up going into the seminary and I am still enjoying supporting and being supported by other people. My three closest ROTC friends served in VietNam. They returned home safely and I think they are very happy.

Four close friends, four survivors who have seen our dreams take shape in ways we did not expect. I think, like me, my friends are still choosing to love and be loved. I hope the folks on the Tacoma streets I walked on are also choosing to love and be loved.

What shape are your hopes and dreams taking these days...?


Kim Thompson said...

You know what my dream is Joseph? That other human beings have the same love of life and gifts of finding happiness that you do!

JosephMcG said...

Thank you, Kin. I am deeply moved by your affirmation. I hope that my writing will help others to see the pain and beauty in all of our lives.

Jaynie Jones said...

I am thankful the trajectory of your life brought you to the priesthood and to Tacoma.

Stephanie Frieze said...

And there sits Korea still. I'm glad that the "domino theory" didn't prevent you from finding your calling, Joseph. You are a warrior in your own way. I am grateful your friends returned from Vietnam all right.