By the Rev. Barbara Mraz
My grandma and her youngest son, Don. The picture still calls to me.
He was seventeen years old, barely out of high school in 1942. And hell-bent on going in the Air Force — with a war on.
His mother — widowed at age forty with four kids — had to write a letter to the Air Force since he was underage, saying he had her approval. I still have the letter he wrote to her, explaining why she should agree. It is heartbreakingly sincere, clueless as to what he might encounter as a flyer. He talks about several friends who have gone to serve their country, saying that it would be “swell” if she allowed him to go, too.
How did she ever do it?
He ended up flying fifty missions over Germany, piloting a B-52. Four years later he made it home, not a kid any longer but still a man with a sweet spirit who went on to have a good life.
How do you make a decision with such clarity and commitment? How do you know it’s the right choice and not a terrible mistake? These are questions that have certainly not gone away.
Today our choices can feel more restrained due to the pandemic. Yet there are still things that call out to us, decisions to be made – so many that are truly life and death, even something as simple as deciding if we should go to the grocery store.
Sunday’s Gospel is about choices, as Jesus starts his ministry by forming his “team”. It is a deceptively-simple lesson that still calls out to us as we struggle on this cold day in January, 2021 when so much has changed and so much is still the same.
You’ll see me in church.