“Dwayne … don’t ever loose your Faith.”  Uncle Carl Dobranski

Like most people, I have been Blessed with some very influential people in my life.  Some of those people are bigger than life itself.  Uncle Carl Dobranski was one of those guys.

He was a big strong man with a deep voice and huge hands.  Hands that you never wanted to be on the wrong end of.  Strong, confident and a good honest caring person.  He grew up on a farm, and raised his family on a farm.  Our farm was just down the road from his farm.  He was one of those guys you always wanted on your side, and you never wanted to let him down.  Just like he never let all of us down.

Uncle Carl served overseas during World War II.  From what I understand, he served for most of the war, signing up early and staying until the end.  When he came back he was like most that came back, he lived not to tell about it.

I used to enjoy sitting down and having a sip or two with him.  He would share stories and we’d laugh.  I loved the fullness of his laughter.  He would tell me how much he loved my Dad, and how much he missed him.  It was good to know someone else felt like I did.  He would always make sure that I left a little bit smarter than before we sat down.

On one of those visits, after a couple of sips of course, he opened up for the first time to me about the war.  He never went into any of the horrible memories that he must have had.  All he did was tell me in his deep voice that through all the hell, chaos, turmoil, confusion, despair and the feeling of vulnerability, he never lost his Faith.  He told me the only thing that got him through all that hell was his Faith.

He then looked at me and said … “Dwayne, don’t ever loose your Faith”.

I remember the feeling I had of never wanting to let him down.  I felt the pressure at that very moment when I wasn’t sure if I could make that big of a promise to him.  The confusion that I also felt, as the wheels of my mind were turning, wondering how on earth he could have maintained his Faith in what I could only imagine was total hell.

Uncle Carl passed away in 2000 at the age of 83.  It was an honour for me to be one of the six individuals to carry Uncle to his final resting place, next to his loving wife Auntie Mary.

I often think back to those words that Uncle taught me … “don’t ever loose your Faith”.

For a long time I believed that the meaning of having Faith meant going to Church to prove that I have Faith.  And when you are there give generously, that always proves you have Faith.  Be sure that everyone knows just how much Faith you have!

But what I am beginning to realize is that the Faith that Uncle was talking about wasn’t these secular types of beliefs.  Sure he believed in going to church, and in Christianity, and his Faith in Jesus Christ was an extremely important part of his spiritual beliefs.

What I am realizing is that Faith is not a tangible item that you just show up for.  Tangible Faith beliefs, are beliefs that are created by us humans who are challenged by our own personal valuation of Faith. Just like all of us are from time to time.  There must have been times that even Uncle Carl must have had his Faith challenged.

I believe that the lesson Uncle Carl was teaching me that day was to have Faith that God loves me.  That my Family loves me.  And that I have to love me.  Without Faith that you are loved, Faith is very easily lost.  At the same time that we find it difficult to love ourselves, we loose Faith in ourselves.  When we don’t love ourselves, we make it difficult for others to love us and have Faith in us.  Yes, even God must be challenged to have Faith and to love some of us some of the time!

On the battlefields of Europe, where it was so difficult to find love, those that survived had Faith that their Higher Power, their God, loved them.  That was what got many of them through those dark horrible days.

At this time leading up to Remembrance Day let us give thanks to those who have served.  Take time to honor those who have never let us down.  Express our heartfelt gratitude for their giving.

Let us have Faith that love will always prevail over evil.  Let us have Faith in each other.  Let us have Faith in our Higher Power, your God whoever that is to you.  Let us always have strength to love the you that you are.  Lest We Forget.


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In Flanders Field the poppies blow…..


 

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