His hope is realized

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“But hope that is seen is not hope at all; for who hopes for what he already sees?” — Romans 8:24

My father-in-law, Joseph Ducanis, Sr., now sees his Hope. He no longer waits for it. It is not unseen any more. He no longer has hope because his hope has been realized. Paul says it is not hope if you see it. Dad Ducanis now sees, he stares and worships what was once hope but is now reality. He is with his Savior, Christ Jesus.

As I have been thinking about our study of hope and Dad’s passing, heaven has become more real to me. Jake, BJ’s 22 year old nephew, was waiting for Dad Ducanis when he arrived. They are not hopeful people any longer. They have no need to be. They are with Jesus.

I love the thought of Jake being with his granddad. The two of them waiting on the rest of us. Those of us who are left . . . still hoping.

Observations on contrasts, values and what really is important.


The Bronze StarI really hate to jump on this band wagon, but after the events of my day I can’t resist ‘no more!

Yesterday was the memorial service for Michael Jackson. 60,000 people attended while 1.2 million attempted to get tickets to the service. Celebrities and “important people” of this world showed up to honor the King of Pop. The service left the city of Los Angeles with a tab for nearly $4 million. In his death, Michael sold 800,000 albums last week alone. And that is what Micheal Jackson did with his life. He used the god-given talent he had to the fullest to become one of the greatest ENTERTAINERS of all time. But that is really what he was — an entertainer. He sold albums/cd’s and concert tickets. And did it like no one else ever has.

Now contrast that with what I witnessed today. 89 year old Armand Ciotti was buried in one of our local cemeteries. Mr. Ciotti was a veteran of WW II, serving on the USS Aquarius in 8 campaigns in the Pacific war — earning 8 Bronze Battle Stars.

Not only did Mr. Ciotti survive the war, a feat that so many of his comrades didn’t, he also was married for 63 years. Another feat that many can’t say they have done.

At the graveside, three Navy personnel were present. Two stood near the casket and attended the duties related to the American flag draped over it. With great attention to detail and even greater ability to exude honor and dignity, they smartly folded and tucked the flag into a small triangle and presented it to Mrs. Ciotti. With elderly eyes that seemed grateful and tired, she looked up at the tall sailor and accepted his thanks on behalf of our nation for her husband’s service.

At that moment, the third sailor who had hardly been noticed, standing 15 or more yards away began to play taps. I couldn’t hold back the tears. The image of Mrs. Ciotti accepting the flag of her fallen husband, looking up at that sailor with taps playing in the background was as patriotic of a moment as I have ever had.

In giving the eulogy this morning, Mr. Ciotti’s son, Bud, shared that one time his father had said about his experiences in the war, “I’m no hero. I’ve known heroes and I’m not one!”

But just as Bud said this morning, Mr. Ciotti was a hero. As are so many other men and women who have served and are serving in so many capacities to protect and defend our nation.

I am saddened by the great contrast and, in my opinion, the disparity between the honor given celebrities who entertain and heroes who defend. We seem to have it all backwards. If it weren’t for Amand Ciotti and so many like him, Michael Jackson might never had had the opportunity to entertain. I am learning that so much of what we celebrate is only the result of what others have paid for. The Jackson family, as does mine, thanks you Mr. Ciotti.

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