The Back Pew - March 2021
Submitted: Ernie Isbell, VLOA Chaplin
“ The Chaplain’s Corner.”
We moved to my hometown of Paducah, TX last November in order to get away from the problems facing the Dallas/Fort Worth area in view of the Covid epidemic. Paducah is a small, rural, farming and ranching community of a little over 1100 population, positioned at the eastern edge of the Texas Panhandle, midway between Wichita Falls and Lubbock.
When I was born here in 1941 the population was around 3600 and it was a vibrant town, with lots of happenings, three grocery stores, at least six car dealerships, lots of churches, good schools, several doctors, two dentists, and a JC Penney store. In short it was a great place to grow up. My older brother Bob, and I, were allowed to hunt birds and rabbits with our shotguns and .22 caliber rifles by ourselves, without adult supervision, starting at age seven for me and nine for him. Both of us were expert marksmen and when I entered the Army I qualified expert with every weapon that I was trained with while in basic training.
As the expression says, we all get older and things change. Life, Covid, aging, children, Viet Nam, etc, etc. bring each of us to where we are today. My hometown has changed and I’m sure yours has changed as well. For good or bad, change is a constant in our lives.
We can have things as they are and wish they were better. Or we can count our blessings and MAKE things better in any way we can. Linda and I noticed that Paducah has more than its share of indigent citizens, old and not so old. We discussed this situation and decided that since we have been blessed with success in our live’s we could we make a difference in others lives. We approached the local grocery store owner and arranged for both Thanksgiving and Christmas that he and his staff provide complete grocery supplies for twenty families so that these families could have a nice holiday meal at no expense to the family. Afterwards, when I paid the bill, I asked the manager how this action was received. He and his staff stated that it was one of the better things they had participated in all year.
We wished to remain anonymous for this effort, but I’m sharing this information with each of you as an example of how any of us can help our fellow citizens. The needs of our fellow citizens are not restricted to the annual holiday season. Especially now, during this terrible pandemic, I urge each of you to look about and find a way to make a difference in someone’s life.
May God bless you and keep you safe.
What can the Chaplain do for me?
My primary job as Chaplain of the V. L. O. A. is to conduct the Sunday morning worship service at our reunions. In addition, should you have the need to talk with someone who has "been there, done that," I am available to listen.
Outlaws Devotional - February 2021
Pain Is Not Forever
2 Timothy 2:3
Accept your share of suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
About 11 years ago, I began having pain in my shoulders that grew progressively worse as the months past. Along with the shoulder pain, pain began building in my hips and soon matched the level of shoulder pain. Surely this was just the process of aging, and would soon subside and go away. Over the counter medication helped marginally, but wasn’t enough to divert my mental concentration on the pain. Finally, the pain progressed to the point that it limited my ability to function well, especially in getting dressed and caring for myself.
It became clear the pain was not going away by itself. Over the next four months, I was evaluated by two general practioners, a neurologist, and an orthopedic surgeon, none of which could identify the source of the pain even after an MRI, two CT scans, two sonograms, and numerous blood tests, but all had their own solution to mollifying the pain. Finally, my wife said that both of us had had enough of the pain, and found a rheumatologist who gave me an emergency appointment. He reviewed all the medical information, and diagnosed the problem as polymyalgia rheumatica. Prescribed medication relieved the cause of the pain in less than a month, but weaning me off the medication took another 11 months.
One night during the midst of my pain, I realized that my pain was insignificant compared to the pain and suffering Jesus Christ experienced during the 24 hours leading up to dying on the cross. We should never forget the earthly, physical pain Jesus felt in giving his life in atonement for our sins.
Submitted by Frank Estes