This time of year, I always get a bit nostalgic. I have friends and family that have served, and I have many others I have known who have gone out on duty to only return in a box. I count myself EXTREMELY fortunate that I am still among the walking, living folk, and not a memory. Time once was, I would have rushed head-long into a fight, and not given a second thought to what I might lose.
Even today, I have a difficult time thinking of my time as valuable. I consider myself a throw-away value, and it takes many people by surprise. How can I value myself so little?
I'm a survivor.
I've lived through things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
But that doesn't seem to explain it all, either.
I know plenty of other folks who have lived through what I did, and can easily think of themselves as worthwhile investments of time and effort. Why should I consider myself differently?
Because I don't know HOW I made it.
There were plenty of times when I wished it would end - permanently for me - and be done with it.
Because I was so willing to give up then, I've developed a lack of regard for myself, my time, and my actions.
What others would consider an extravagant sacrifice of time and energy, I see as just one more thing I can help with.
Because I consider each and every day that I am alive yet one more day on loan. I feel like I died quite a while back, and now I'm given - by grace - even more time on this earth.
This isn't _my_ time. This is _His_ time, and I'm just here getting to enjoy the side benefits.
This isn't to say that I'm a saint.
I'm not. I have some serious faults.
But by grace, I'm alive, and able to give what I can and what I am able to others.
This is what I struggle with, and I wish I were more appropriately appreciative of what I have.