Honor Flight: a WW II Veteran Reflects

a guest post by my Dad

The following is by my father, Nicholas J. Huizenga, in which he describes a Talons Out Honor Flight he took on May 16, 2015. He died a year later, in June 2016, almost a year ago.

Nicholas Huizenga, USA private

Nicholas J. Huizenga, 1945

Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.

Nine days ago I joined 105 veterans of World War ll on a trip to Washington D.C. mainly to see the war memorials. The average age of the vets was 93 years, and each had an assistant and a wheel chair. It was a long day, which began at the Gerald Ford airport in Grand Rapids at 5:30 a.m. and ended after midnight. During breakfast we heard the old songs of the War era by the Great Lakes Male Chorus before a grand send-off by scores of people, who applauded and shook our hands with expressions of appreciation for our service.

At the Ronald Reagan Airport in D.C. we were again greeted by scores of people while a professional group of women in their 60’s sang some of the old songs. Police cars escorted our six busses down the streets of Washington, while tour guides shared information about the buildings and monuments.

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My family was able to meet Dad as he came off the bus at the WWII Memorial.

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This 2 minute video introduces the pilgrimage, March 5-16, 2018.

It’s filling up but we still have a couple open slots. Are you the person we’re looking for?

Contact me and I’ll send the registration form which has more detailed information.

When Grief Sucks Us Dry

how to rehydrate creativity

My little church experienced two unexpected deaths in two weeks — fatal heart attacks of otherwise healthy persons. During that same period, a good friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within a month.

I did all the things a pastor does. I visited hospitals and put together funeral services and preached the resurrection. But I surely felt the toll of all that emotion, both my own grief and the grief of others. I felt sad and shriveled up.

I wondered how — and even if — I could replenish my well of creativity. I stumbled across one answer unexpectedly. Months ago I purchased tickets for the whole family to see a musical, “Fun Home.” It was to be an early Mothers Day celebration. Our daughters were excited about the show and that was enough for me. I like to experience a show with a blank slate, so I was glad I didn’t know much about it — only that it was a memoir set to music, and much of it takes place in a Funeral Home.

As life would have it, my friend’s memorial service was set to take place at noon on the Saturday of the show, in downtown DC. The matinee began at 2:00, just a few blocks away. I wondered if it would be better to sell the tickets and book something for another day. I worried that we might all experience emotional whiplash, going from a real funeral to a staged one.

In the end we decided to do both. The show was near the end of its run and rescheduling would be impossible. Besides, my friend who died, the Rev. Dr. Jeff Krehbiel, had been the type to live large. He would smile to know of our plans. So we attended the memorial service all together, at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. The sanctuary is gorgeous and historic and the service was a beautiful testimony to a life well-lived. We listened to every word, shed tears, sang the hymns, greeted a few people (far too few because of our rush), then got ourselves to the theater.

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When Your Thoughts Are Unthinkable

after sexual assault

I wrote this essay for the blog at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Albany, NY because I’ll be speaking there Saturday (May 20) and Sunday (May 21). If you’re in the Albany area, I would love to meet you there!

 

After I got raped, one of my problems was that my thoughts were unthinkable. This problem joined other, more pressing ones. Where could I be safe? Where could I sleep? And how could I get through the impending hours of darkness? I continually felt like I was jumping out of my skin.

I’ll admit that I’d never been terribly comfortable in my skin. I was raised by Calvinists, after all. Everything important was housed from the neck up. But after the rape I couldn’t just escape to my head. My very thoughts—such as they were—became heretical. They weren’t complete thoughts, just words lying in proximity to each other. Profanity. The divine name. Unanswerable questions. I tried to stop the words from lining up, but when I got tired enough, they did, and taunted me: “Where the eff was God?”

To back up — the rape occurred in 1978 when I was a senior at Calvin College. Two masked intruders broke into the home I shared with housemates. They held us hostage for hours, then took turns sexually assaulting us at gunpoint. After the criminals left and we got loose from our bonds, we debated whether or not to call the police. That conversation was a work of theology, although I didn’t realize it at the time. We were trying to reclaim our sense of agency because complete strangers had just taken something that we would never regain.

That semester I was taking Linguistics and World Religion. I was a true believer in the Reformed doctrine in which I’d been catechized. But the sovereignty of God was no longer a comforting thought. Had God willed this awful experience? Who, exactly, took away our agency?

“Put it behind you,” our professors advised. Yes, that was the response of our faith community — deafening silence. Meanwhile, the denomination was embroiled in a fight over the ordination of women. Male pastors debated: What does scripture say on this issue? But I knew what they were really debating: What’s a woman good for?

Eventually I found my way to the Presbyterian church, to seminary, and to ordination. I have been in ministry since 1990. When my own daughters became college-aged, I realized I had unfinished business about the trauma I endured. I wanted to figure out how, exactly, it shaped me. So I began to write. What message did I want to convey to my daughters about living in a woman’s skin? That writing became my memoir, RUINED.

I am passionate about the life of faith, which isn’t a thought exercise. Discipleship is living as God-breathed beings on a God-created planet. We live in bodies, and women’s bodies are too often in peril. The church can break its silence and become a powerful support to victims of sexual assault. There are more of them in your pews than you think.

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Blood is Thicker Than Water

A Reflection on John 19:26 "Woman, Behold Thy Son"

This is a guest post by my sister, the Rev. Susan Joy Huizenga. She preached this sermon on Good Friday (4/14/17) at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center; Saginaw, MI. Some of you know Susan from an earlier post about being a living kidney donor.

 

One day when I was about twelve years old, my sister Beth demanded to know all about a conversation I had with a friend in the neighborhood. She thought I knew some sort of secret, and she demanded to know.

“She made me promise not to tell” I objected.

My sister persisted “Come on, Susan! Blood is thicker than water!”

To the best of my recollection, I never did cave into Beth’s demand. But I got the point. Blood is thicker than water.

In New Jersey, when I was growing up in the 1970s, the mafia was much in control of certain aspects of life. Also, we lived in an Italian neighborhood. The ideal of family and clan loyalty was strong. Later, while I was working in Trenton NJ, the students were discussing the TV series “The Sopranos” and one of the students stated emphatically “I cannot watch that. My friend’s father was killed by the mob. It hits too close to home.”

{Law Enforcement realized they could not keep up with the number of murders and mayhem that this mob crime situation presented to them. Lawmakers and law enforcement got together and passed a law RICO to take out the financing of the operation. It worked. So the mob is still there but much diminished in power and scope.}

Hearing this ancient story about what Jesus went through, reminds us that thinking ‘might makes right,” or the rule by those with swords, or the fear of protesters, or the incompetence of those in authority, or inadequate human systems … none of this is new!

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Come With Me to Israel/Palestine!

I'm excited to be co-leading a pilgrimage March 5-16, 2018

Ever since I went on a Holy Land pilgrimage and wrote a book about it, I have wanted to return to Israel/Palestine. That dream is coming true next March! 

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Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became humanHaving become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Eugene Peterson
Philippians 2:5-8, The Message

Why I’m Glad I Wrote a Rape Memoir

Sexual Assault Awareness Month -- You Are Not Alone

http://francesdowell.com/the-secret-language-of-girls/ بنك الرياض تداول الاسهم There are times when I feel sorry for myself. You too? I hate having the particular story I have. I hate that I spent years writing it down. Why did I go through all that agony? Then I get a letter like this one, and my self-pity washes away, like sidewalk chalk after a rain. What’s left behind are the stories that need to be told — in print and in pixels — words which will never completely disappear.

http://kmr-spedition.at/?rater=%D9%81%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%B3-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A&8f5=24 فوركس مجاني Dear Ruth — Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m still sobbing after reading it straight through the last 3 days. Thank you for pouring out so much of your agony and fury onto the pages of your book. It is a perfect document.  I found myself, while reading, getting lost for moments as if I were reading journal entries of my own describing the pains, confusions, and piercing cries of “WHY” to God.  Thank you for not resisting God’s love, and for being willing to be used in people’s lives such as mine… used to offer a ray of hope to hang on.  Reading your words was the first time I knew I wasn’t alone.

http://investingtips360.com/?klaystrofobiya=%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%87%D9%85-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%AF%D8%A8%D9%8A&c42=b0 تداول الاسهم في دبي You found me and I found you. We are not alone.

سوق الذهب والتداول Speak it. Speak the truth of our stories.

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