The Saga of Miles Forrest

Billington has never acted friendly in any way, sort, or manner.  I happened to remember that he was left-handed, and he was ten feet away, so when he put forth his hand, instead of reaching for it I lifted the Greener.  
    The impact hit me in the back knocking me forward.  As I was falling I saw Billington’s left hand come up with a pistol.  Things happened fast, too fast.  Billington fired, missing, and just before I hit the station floor I pulled the trigger on the Greener and heard Billington groan.  Because I fired the shotgun my arm was in no position to help catch my fall; I landed square on my face.  
    There came a scream.  “Miles!”  It was Molly.
    I was a little dazed, but I lifted my head and turned just as another shot was fired.  I saw Molly drop.  I was still groggy, but I rolled to my side and pulled my pistol snapping off a shot at the person fleeing the scene.  I recognized him as Billy Denton.
    My glance went back toward Billington.  He was laying on the station floor, crawling for his pistol that was dropped when he hit.  I turned to rest on my stomach, cocked my pistol pointing it at Billington.  He lifted his head looking at me, his eyes widened in fear and in desperation as he struggled to crawl to his pistol.  I shot him, hitting him in the shoulder.
    I tried to cry out, but all that I could hear from my voice was the whisper of her name, “Molly.”

Hmmmm, should I stop it here?

    I was still on my stomach when I woke up.  Trying to move the pain hit me, so I figured it was too much of an effort.  From my position I tried to lift my head and look around to get my surroundings.  This was a grand room with a bed that had a canopy.  “Oh, my mercy!” I thought; I’m in an undertaker’s parlor.  Folks think I’m dead.
    The door opened and I could see two pairs of legs come through the door; one wearing pants and the other a dress.  The undertaker and Molly, but, no, I saw Molly fall, she was shot.
    “Ah, our patient is awake.  Nurse, get him some water to drink, but make sure he drinks it slowly,” came the voice from the pants who I now assumed was a doctor.  “I want to check his wound.”
    “Here, Mr. Forrest, see if you can hold your head up to sip from this cup,” came a soft, mellow voice.  I took a few sips, but what I wanted was to guzzle it all down.
    The doctor was messing with the bandages.  Then he put something on me that made me go straight up from the bed, horizontally.  “Whoooee, Doc, that stings a mite!” I exclaimed.
    “Have to make sure there’s no infection,” he said as he began to wipe my wound.  “You’re a lucky man, Mr. Forrest.  I had to dig that bullet out; a little lower and it would have wound up in your lung.  I will say this, you’ve had your share of wounds and scars.
    “Don’t believe in luck,” I muttered, still trying to catch my breath from the burning sensation.  “I believe in divine Providence.”
    “Well, then,” said the Doc, “the gentleman that you shot was not so divinely providential.  He lost one of his legs, and a hunk from his hip.  He still might not make it as he lost a lot of blood.  A shotgun blast from ten feet away can do a sight of damage.”     Then it came to my mind, I saw Molly fall.  “My wife, where’s Molly?”
    There was quiet; the doc quit his work on my wound, and the nurse lifted the cup away from me.  I tried to get up, and was pushed back down.  “Where is Molly?”
    “Easy, easy, you’ll start bleeding,” the doctor remarked.  
    “Doc!  Where is she?”
    “She’s in the other room.  She’s…”
    I interrupted him, “I want to see her.”  
    I tried to get up when the pain hit me.  I could hear faintly his words as I passed out, “He’s hemorrhaging….”

The Daily Paine

But a man in any station can do his duty…and, in doing it, can earn his own respect, even if his case should be so very unfortunate and so very rare that he can earn no other man’s.”
–Charles Dickens

“He would do his duty up until his last hour in uniform, whether that was days or decades away.”
–Ed Ruggero

Well, this is it, that day has come. It is understood that every day has its own meaning and events. Jesus said, “Don’t worry at all then about tomorrow. Tomorrow can take care of itself! One day’s trouble is enough for one day.” (Matthew 6:34, Phillips) So then, every day has its own challenges.
However, the day has come for two other events. First, the last of the Daily Paines. This happens every summer. I write sporadically in the summer, but now I’m not sure if I’ll continue the Daily Paine in the fall. I will continue to write a morning devotion, though it might not be every morning. Right now I’m not sure what I will call it. I’m thinking of “Echoes From the Campfire”, but it might end up something else.  The plan is to keep writing the Saga of Miles Forrest and the Coffee Percs on Saturday.
Secondly, this is my last day working at Cornerstone and my last day teaching. It has been a fond time. There have been some of those “days” mentioned above, but for the most part I have greatly enjoyed my life as a teacher. I enjoyed studying and then giving what I have found to my students. Perhaps the thing I enjoyed the most was the rapport I developed. The thing I will miss the most will be giving students a “bad time” in classroom and hallways.
I have noticed that we are living in dangerous times. The “thief” is among us and is walking to and fro to slash and slice at us. If you do not think so just watch the news. Whatever your view of the President, the current one has faced more slashing and slicing than any I can remember. Where is the common respect? Times are upon us that if you do not have a firm grasp of the Word of God, there may be troubles. Dark days may loom ahead, and no, I’m not speaking that we need to prep for the tribulation. But we need to be prepared for the darkness. As believers we have the light, so there should be no fear.
Many have asked what I plan on doing. I mentioned that the first plan is to move to Coldspring and do some traveling. After that I’m not sure. I have a sequel to “The True and Unbiased Life of Elias Butler” in the works. There is a plan for another devotional, and floating around in my gray matter are a few other stories of Elias plus some with Miles Forrest.
I have kept over the years on my podium the following Scripture from James, “Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly].” (3:1) I have taken this to heart and tried my best to practice it. I am concerned that the bar/standards have been greatly lowered and if so, the fault lies with the teachers and the parents. If teachers allow students to slide, that includes not only academia, but emotionally and spiritually as well, how will they be judged? Do not get caught up the postmodern thoughts of the day. Stay true to the calling that God placed upon you, not man, not an administrator, not a school, but God.
This is especially true for my colleagues. “We define ourselves by our actions, and we do that every single day, in a hundred tiny choices made by thousands of people at every moment. Tell the truth. Work hard. Don’t be discouraged. Help your buddy. Tend your duty. Believe. Obey.” (Ed Ruggero)

The Daily Paine

Memorial Day–dare we never forget the sacrifices!  This country, so beautiful in so many ways.  From the people who struggled to make it a great country, to those who continue to serve to protect its wonderful bounty.  I have always thanked the Lord to live in this country.  Sure, there are those who sometimes grate my last nerve, but I can look past that to the blessed land in which the Lord placed me to live.  Others do not have this opportunity.  God surely has shed His grace on the United States.

          “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
           For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!
           America!  America!  God shed His grace on thee,
           And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!”
                    –Katherine Lee Bates

With all of the bickering today, the ignorance and stupidity that is happening, we often forget the reasons why God allowed this country to be established.  One of those are seen in the pilgrims.  There were pilgrims all up and down the eastern coast, but the attention often is drawn to those at Plymouth who wanted to worship the Lord.  Other “pilgrims” came for economic and political liberty.  Either way, the theme was freedom.  And they took it across the great land that God had provided–Manifest Destiny.  Some deride the notion today, and there were issues that arose that were not handled properly, but this land was destined.

          “O beautiful for pilgrim fee, Whose stern, impassioned stress
           A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
           America!  America!  God mend thy ev’ry flaw,
           Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!”

Goodness, do we need self-control today!  People clamor for rights, but they forget those who died for those rights.  The problem is that in wanting “their rights” they forget the necessity of accepting their responsibility.  I could name the battles where men sacrificed for love of country and family and freedom.  They didn’t want to die, but they understood the cost of freedom.  The idea that man is noble is foreign to so many.  The idea that God is the provider and everything that is done in this country, because of His bountiful gift, should be thought of as divine.  Shame on us, shame on us!

          “O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife.
           Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!
           America!  America!  May God thy gold refine
           Till all success be nobleness And ev’ry gain divine!”

The early patriots saw into the future.  They fought, bled, and died not just for their day, but for future generations.  They saw what America might become.  Did they have prophetic vision?  Maybe some did, but never mind that, they sacrificed not just for their family, but for generations to come.  This nobleness continued through the generations.  It makes me wonder, do we stop and think what America will be like in a hundred years?  Perhaps there is too much “junk” happening for us to see through the fog.  We must again be like the Greatest Generation, like the pilgrims and pioneers of old–continue to make America into the nation that God designed.

          “O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
           Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears!
           America!  America!  God shed His grace on thee,
           And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea.”

We certainly need God’s grace!

The Daily Paine

All gave some;
Some gave all!”

“Uncommon Valor was a common virtue.”
–Adm. Chester Nimitz

Valor among those in the military, is not a rarity, but it is the norm.  Most of the time the call that comes forth is not one of death and destruction, but when it does come it is answered.  Memorial Day is upon us.  It is the time when we recall those who have sacrificed for our country.  It is not the same as Veteran’s Day, but in a sense all give; it is a time of remembrance.
I had two members of my family who died on foreign soil.  There was a cousin who fell that awful day of June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy.  He is still buried there.  A young man, who never had a chance to see the fruition of his life; one who gave his all.  My uncle, in 1966, died in Vietnam.  He left a wife and three sons at home; boys he would never see grow into manhood.
Perhaps that is why those snowflakes jerks my jaws so much.  They do not have an inkling of the sacrifices that have been given for their freedom, and then they use it in stupidity.  Don’t give me that nonsense that they are just standing up for their rights.  The blood that was spilt on the beaches, the jungles, and the sands is what has given them their rights.  But, that is a subject for another time.
Dave Roever wrote (and I’ve said it before–you need to read his story!), “War will have one of two consequences.  Scars or death.  No one survives war without scars, whether internal or external.  You can’t go through such an experience and not be affected.  However, I am grateful that those ‘scars’ don’t have to become a crutch or a label for the rest of your life.  For others, unfortunately, death is the price paid so that we may enjoy freedom.  It never gets easier to think about.  It never gets easier for the families left behind to pick up the pieces.  There is a void in the hearts of loved ones that will last forever.”
Many years after the death of my uncle the local newspaper came to visit my Grandma and my Aunt for an interview.  There was a hidden agenda behind the interview which never happened.  My Grandma said that “you never stop missing him.”  Throughout the interview the reporter was trying to get them to say how bad the war was, and that we should never had been there.  They wouldn’t succumb to that, because they understood the meaning of sacrifice.  They served a Savior that gave the sacrifice for their eternal souls. 
What is it behind sacrifice?  What words come from the grave and even more so from the risen Christ?  They would tell us to enjoy life to the fullest.  Our lives should come to honor the sacrifices that were made from us; to honor the price paid.  Roever, a person who bears on his body the scars of war continues, “Be mindful of their sacrifice, but enjoy the friends and family gathered at the city park and in the backyard.  Enjoy a time to eat burgers and hot dogs cooked on the grill, to laugh and play, to tickle the kids and go to bed exhausted.  They would not want their sacrifice to end at the grave… .  [Jesus] wants us to be mindful and remember His sacrifice that brought our freedom.  But He also wants us to live in the freedom He purchased.”
Take time to remember.  Take time to reflect.

“We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”
–Joshua 4:6-7 (NLT)