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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Well I (Jim) have found a little time to write. Ginger and I are in Santa Fe celebrating her parents 40th wedding anniversary with Matt Ginger's brother and his wife Katherine. Troy's mom is staying with the kids in San Antonio. I will say one thing God has truly blessed me with great in-laws, Andrea's family, Ginger's and Troy's are the best! There will never be a mother-in-law joke told in our house. Anyway, I woke up early today and decided to take a little time to write about an experience I had this past Tuesday.

I had a business trip to DC this week and due to airline "equipment" issues, that's how the airlines refer to the airplane, as the equipment, I arrived in DC 3 hours late and missed the meeting on Tuesday. So after checking into my hotel I decided to go to another meeting I had, one I had tried to keep on several other trips to DC but could never fit into my schedule. I went to Section 60, site 8525 of Arlington Cemetery to introduce myself to Troy.

I tried one other time to go to Arlington but arrived as it was closing. I had thought about this day many times, what do you say? What can you say? I feel a connection to Troy as a fellow fighter pilot, we shared a common love of flying. It is a unique and strong bond the love of flying, and the thrill and blessing to have a dream come true and fly a fighter. To kneel at Troy's grave and know we have never met yet we share life's most personal moments. We never met yet we share the love of Ginger. We have never met yet I watch Boston play on his first club soccer team, feel the touch of Greyson as he seeks stability in his life, drive Bella to her first day of school, and hear the twins call me daddy. I needed to "meet" Troy; I need to talk to him and tell him the kids are doing good, that Ginger misses him. To promise to love and care for his family, to stand in the gap for him. It was a situation you can not prepare for and I'm not sure how to express the feelings in that moment.

Ginger had a similar experience. When I took her to Ft Sam National Cemetery, section 110 site 699, where she knelt and met Andrea for the first time. It was a very emotional moment as I left her alone and watched from the car as they "met."

I never thought I would find myself in this position nor did Ginger, I was to grow old with Andrea as Troy was to grow old with Ginger, yet God's plan was different. We have to trust God when at times like this we walk by faith, unable to comprehend with our finite mind, things eternal.

Ginger's Mom read this to me yesterday morning, it is a quote from a book called "Steams in the Desert." When you find yourself in times of difficulty, especially extreme times this should be one of the first books you reach for after your Bible. This excerpt reminds me that God is sovereign, and He alone holds the eternal view of His creation, the work of His will and His desire...our lives.

I have longed to walk along an easy road.
And leave behind the dull routine of home,
Thinking in other fields to serve my God;
But Jesus said, "My time as not yet come."

I long to sow the seed in other soil,
To be unshackled in the work, and free,
To join other laborers in their toil,
But Jesus said, "It is not my choice for thee."

I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To work where souls were sunk in sin and shame,
That I might win them; but the Master said,
"I have not called you, publish here My name."

I longed to fight the battles of my King,
Lift high His standards in the thickest strife;
But my great Captain had me wait and sing
Songs of His conquest in my quite life.

I longed to leave the hard and difficult sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near,
But Jesus had me guard the lonely gate.

I longed to leave the common daily toil,
Where no one seemed to understand me care;
But Jesus said, "I choose you for this soil,
That you might raise for me some blossoms rare."

And now I have no longing but to do
At home, or far away, His blessed will,
To work amid the many or the few;
Thus, "choosing not to choose," my heart is still.


  1. Wow, Jim, wish I had known that you were in D.C. I was there from the 8th to the 11th and attended Gen. Tom Tinsley's funeral on the 10th. Wish we could have seen each other and wish I would have thought about Troy, it would have been neat to meet him too. Arlington National Cemetery is a very special place.

  2. You don't know me...but your lives have inspired me. I "met" Ginger through the Krauses and Gordons and Jim & Andrea through the Ottos. I have had the privilege of praying for each of you and your children as you have walked through your grief. The Father has used your words to touch me many, many times over the past couple of years.

    Recently, we moved to Luke AFB. I just wanted you to know that each day I cross the Troy L. Gilbert memorial bridge on my "walks with God." I also wanted you to know that when I cross the bridge I lift up your family in prayer. Just today, I prayed that your hearts would be saturated with grace and love as you continue to grow into a bonded family. Yesterday, someone attached two hand-painted crosses to Troy's picture on the bridge. It is obvious that two little hands have painted the crosses... I took that as a reminder to pray specifically for your two darling twins...so I did. I will continue to pray for you each day.

    Thank you for your blog... for inspiring me to walk with Jesus down even the most difficult paths that life brings.