REL 320a: Spirituality, Character, and Service
Instructor: Bruce Steffensen
Warner Pacific College
Apr 15, 2014
In these final pages there will be what I refer to stuff of dreams; the thoughts hopes, and wishes of a child. I would like to journey through time, to revisit a youth and reflect on some of that young boys aspirations as he grew up. For a short period of time, I want to share moments of a life; a boy struggling and straining to become an individual. Was there a calling; What path did God lay out for him, or was life one big fish bowl where he just swam around in circles really getting nowhere? As time travels forward that youth transforms into what modern day society calls a man; but I know the truth. What I call the youth is me and eventually we must meet somewhere along the road of life. Staring up into the heavens from a sleeping bag lay out in our secret hideout on the hill just behind the house. The twinkling lights of the night sky beckon, the moon landing just happened months before. The smell of mesquite was strong as the low fire burned, sap from the brushy wood flashed; a shadow played and danced off the dirt wall of the fort dug into the gully. The sky was so clear, every star added luminous to the surrounding desert; it was so bright, a person could see for miles. The desert swept out before the youth; street lights from Skylark elementary some distance away glowed with halos, lighting the pavement below. At six life seemed simple, James Tiberius Kirk along with Neil Armstrong where the center of the universe. Time could not spin fast enough for the young boy; he wanted to visit the stars.
Aunt Dee was a retired Air Force Major who worked at Sky Harbor as an Air Traffic controller; she was also a pilot in the Civil Air Patrol. Going to work with her meant that he was going flying; going up in a Cessna meant he was that much closer to his dreams. It elated him every time Aunt Dee would offer to let him control the plane; he could barely see over yoke through the front window. He knew that becoming a pilot had to be one step closer to visiting the stars, so he wanted to join the Air force and fly jets and then eventually become an astronaut. It was something he knew was in his future; nothing seemed to be in the way to stop him from flying to the stars.
Running along the side of the mountain with his Crossman 177 pellet gun with the other boys was exhilarating in the cool morning air. The sun had just made its appearance climbing up over the east hills of Phoenix to start baking the desert floor; if one looked closely you could see waves of heat starting to form in the distance. The youths were on a mission to face the enemy; the group of boys launched across gully after gully finally stopping in the largest of the south facing slope. Ben whispered to the rest, Josh you go up the gully to the right and wait for the command, Ernie, Jeff head down the hill a little and hold. After a few minutes the sun was drilling down and it was getting quite warm, for an acclimatized six year old it was nothing. Suddenly a sharp explosion cracked the air; that was the signal to attack. The boy brought up his rifle and looked through the scope, identifying the enemy down the hill he sighted in on the furthest target and pulled the trigger. Excited to hear a plink as the pellet struck the Tomato can; he pulled the bolt back to let a Beebe roll in to the chamber and pumped the handle five times then leaped out of the gully charging the imaginary enemy position. So this was what the boy wanted to be, a soldier defending his country from those who would take the thing he treasured most, freedom.
We skip forward to a time of uncertainty, way closed behind the young man of twelve, as he moved to Oregon; thoughts of becoming an astronaut lost so many years before as the moon mission faded from his mind. He had not forgotten of becoming a soldier;