A Promise Kept….

Just after I got sober in 1994, I made a promise to myself – to one day return to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico – to the church I was confirmed in.  From the summer of 1957 to the summer of 1960 I attended Lutheran catechism in that church every Saturday, and for the last year, every Thursday and Saturday.

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On the day of my confirmation Chaplain Baumgaertner told us that many would leave the church.  I remember that so vividly, and I remember sitting there imploring upon God that it wouldn’t be me… but, it was.

And so, that promise I made to myself back in 1994 or so, became very important to me; for it was the Lutheran Church (here in Whitehouse, OH) that I initially turned to for help when I decided to get sober.

Last week (June 15 – 21, 2015) I took the opportunity to attend an ‘All-classes School Reunion’ at Ramey.  However, my primary objective was more ‘spiritual’ in nature than anything else – to return to that church, hit my knees and give Thanks to God for saving my life.

On Tuesday, 16 Jun, 2015, before anything else, Carolyn and I went ‘walk-about’ on base to find that church.  And after a bit of time, we found it.  It isn’t a church anymore – it’s a school.  But you know what?  It will always be a church for me!

As we walked along that morning I felt myself  becoming more and more ‘anxious,’ as if I were returning home.  And I suppose I was.  As we walked on the sidewalk I first caught glimpse of what I thought used to be the church, and it was!

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And it became even clearer the closer we got.

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We walked around a bit, then I found a way in.  There was no one around to ask about going in, but I have always found ‘forgiveness’ easier to receive than ‘permission.’  So, in we went.

It hardly looked like a church inside, the only resemblance were the remaining pews.

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But you know, that was good enough for me.  And after a while, I approached the general area I remember sitting in that day – the day I was confirmed – and I ‘hit my knees.’
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As I kneeled there, I reflected on how blessed I truly am – and the tears flowed.  Tears of joy; tears of gratitude; tears of humility…

 

 

 

 

 

And then I spent time asking for strength to continue on this wonderful journey I am on today… and giving “thanks” for the opportunity to keep a promise made…

IMG_0472So my trip to Ramey was a great experience for me; way beyond the reunion itself, the food, the beaches and everything else… And for this, I am so grateful.

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4 Responses to A Promise Kept….

  1. Jan Easterling Ramsay says:

    Thank you for such an inspirational story, your life truly has been blessed. I think Ramey was a very spiritual place, I felt great joy there and I know I’m not the only one. God Bless you.

  2. Larry Ragan says:

    Bob, I spent many hours on my knees in the base chapel at Ramey. I went to Mass every Sunday and our times there overlap. I was there 11/59-6/62. 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.

  3. Marcia B. Petty says:

    Thanks so much for the info and pictures. My experience at Puerto Rico was very important to me as well. Since that time I have become a Roman Catholic and now live in Richmond va. I am terrible at thisform of communication, but I do own an IPad and need to Learn how to Use it! It is always amazing to learn something of the influence my Dad had in those years.Thanks!

  4. William P. Tyree (Pat) says:

    Great Story!
    I stumbled upon this blog purely by chance. Am truly enjoying the posts. I was a KC-135 navigator but all of my time was spent as a Guardsman. Am writing a story and could use some help with questions concerning what it was like to be active duty SAC aircrew.
    Care to share your wisdom?

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