Back in February, a little bird told me to suggest that Julie Sullivan of The Oregonian newspaper be our featured speaker at the 2010 Memorial Day ceremony at the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Living Memorial. I'm not on the Board but attend the annual dinner just to visit with folks and check in.
Julie turned out to be Plan B. The group had already contacted someone else who ended up with a conflict. VP Ron Cannon took over and contacted our Plan B. Plan B turned out to be a God-send.
About a month ago, the same little bird told me to send Julie an e-mail just to say "Hi!" and to thank her for accepting the invitation. That led to several more e-mails and a couple of phone calls. That led to my invitation to Julie to come up to the annual work day on May 22, a day that was chilly and wet.
That led her to meet a number of people with significant stories to tell. Stories of blessings and hope. Stories of help and healing. She told them, and now they have life.
Stories of, as she put it, "the gift of Vietnam". I'd never heard anyone call it that before. But Julie brought us many gifts, and there have been innumerable gifts from this traumatic time. Times of great travail do indeed plant great seeds.
We would not always have called them gifts. And we would not have expected to receive gifts from this time.
But gifts they are. And a gift she was, and a gift she has been to countless Oregon military families and their loved ones.
So what a thrill it was to share the microphone with her today. You can share her gift at: http://www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2010/05/on_this_memorial_day_at_oregon_1.html
And what a joy to know that her gracious words came to us and came into being all through the actions of a little bird.
Now, between you and me, I didn't see or hear any little bird flying around while I was at the computer. But I sure do believe that the Spirit of God was at work in all this.
The same Spirit has care of the souls whose lives we remembered and gave thanks for today.
Thanks again, Julie!
God bless! And God bless all who share the memories of loved ones who gave their all.
PS. Unless you actually BUY a newspaper, or unless you are willing to actually pay for your ability to view news stories online, true journalists like Julie don't have a revenue source or a job. Think about that. We have a surplus of opinionated bloggers (yes, you can include me) distracting us every which way. Today we have a true shortage of people like Julie who bring us fact-checked stories based on hard-won personal research. There's a difference between story and opinion or hyperbole. Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow and Fox News didn't come up to the Memorial to work and meet people. Julie Sullivan did. All the difference in the world...