When I was eleven years old, I went to see a movie called “To Hell And Back” that was the true story of Audie Murphy, the most decorated veteran of WWII. He became my hero immediately and had even starred in the film about him. In the eighties, I went to Washington D.C. on a business trip for the University of Arkansas and took some time to go to see Arlington National Cemetery and got the ranger to show me Audie Murphy’s grave (see picture at the right). I thought to myself that I would never have a tombstone like that with the kind of incredible heroism carved into it that I saw on Audie Murphy’s marker. For much of my adult life (before I was forty years old), I had not lived what anyone would call a virtuous life. The words “integrity” and “decency” would not spring to anyone’s mind if they thought of me. I was sure, in fact, that I had done so much that was bad that I would never be the kind of man that my father was or to be as respected and admired as he was to the day of his death in 2003. I thought about Audie Murphy’s brief description on his tombstone a lot. With Father’s Day tomorrow, I can finally say that thanks to the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, my life has changed. I truly believe that I have become a man of whom my wife and sons can be proud. I don’t need a list of wartime medals on my simple stone when I die. If it only contains these words (and if they are true) then I will have done what I never thought I could, and I will truly rest in peace. The words I hope will be on my stone marker:
A Good Husband
A Good Father
A Good Friend
A Good Man
Not only will that be enough, that will be the highest praise I could ever receive. Following my own path did not lead me here, following Christ did. May I continue to answer His call and live in imitation of Him.