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2013-03-21 digital edition

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2013-03-21 / Church

THEY SAID IT (Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

“I was a P.O.W.”

Orin was a career military man. He’d fought in Korea and Vietnam. At his assisted living facility he was simply known as “the colonel.”

Orin never missed a Bible Study. One day we were talking about the topic of forgiveness. I noticed the colonel was unusually quiet.

“Colonel, what do you think?” I asked.

Orin thought for a moment and said, “Forgiveness is very tough.”

He dropped his eyes and began to shake. Tears came.

“I can’t do it!” he stammered. “What they did to me, to my buddies. . .”

The rest of the group sat in stunned silence.

“I was a POW in Vietnam for two years. It was horrible – just horrible. Please pray for me,” he pleaded.

Orin died a few days later. The Bible Study group told me that an aide had found him in the middle of the night sitting bolt upright in his bed. He told her to not interrupt. He said there was a huge soldier dressed in white at the end of his bed giving him new orders. Then he lay down, closed his eyes, and was gone.

“Was that an angel?” one of them asked.

“The Bible often describes angels as warriors,” I said. “One thing we do know - the colonel’s war here is over. He’s been promoted.”

We started our Bible Study that day by singing “Angels We Have Heard on High,” even though it was March.

Colonel, on behalf of a grateful country, we thank you.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice

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