PHIL-OSOPHY: Beautiful Lives Inspire Others
Majors Gil and BethEllen Parkhurst of the New Bedford Salvation Army, and their sons, are packing up their personal emotions and physical belongings and heading to East Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania.
Their story parallels my life's journey. And those memories came rushing back to me as we chatted about their move.
As a kid, I remember my family being transferred all across this land, too. My dad was a priest in the Greek Orthodox Church. Every two or three years, we'd fill a moving van with our furniture and broken hearts and get transferred to a new parish in another state.
What I didn't realize until I grew up was the positive legacy of changed lives my father's ministry had on real people. That was the centerpiece of our on-air conversation.
The Major recalled a homeless man in the parking lot of the Salvation Army telling him that it was his last day to live, because a local gang was on their way to shoot and kill him in broad daylight. That man is alive today, thanks to the work of the Salvation Army and God's grace.
How do you measure that kind of ministry?
From the addicts who are broken in spirit to the young children being fed on a daily basis, their work serving others is a kindness that lets other struggling souls know that there's still love in this changing world.
I remember being asked if we moved around so much because my dad was in the service? I answered in the affirmative, saying yes, my dad was in the service, but in the service of the Lord, and that he carried a cross and the Holy Bible instead of an M-16.
That was then, this is now, and the war still continues out there. The Majors remind me of what Maya Angelou once said: "God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us in the dreariest and most dreaded moments can see a possibility of hope."
The Parkhursts represent that kind of hope, during the squalls of peoples lives and the bright rainbows that follow. God's blessings.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.