by Bob Wickizer

We Had Hoped
Bob Wickizer
Acts 2:14,36-41; Psalm 116:1-3,10-17; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35

Around this time in May 1954 (of course all of you remember that year), Englishman Roger Bannister became the first person in the world to run a mile in under four minutes. By 1966, Olympians were breaking the four minute barrier every year, but it was rare to find with college athletes then and unheard of for high school runners of the day. My friend Mark was one of the first high school students in the nation to break the four minute mile barrier in 1966. He had a full track scholarship to the University of Arizona (a mecca for runners) and on the last track meet of his high school senior year, the runner behind him stepped on Mark's Achilles tendon and snapped it. Dreams of a college scholarship snapped with the tendon for this working class kid from Chicago.

Eight months later, Mark was a grunt holding an M-16, scared for his life in the steamy jungles of Viet Nam. Mark was one of the lucky ones to survive the hell of that wartime experience. Children acting as suicide bombers. The exposure to chemicals. The drugs. The horrible reception for GIs returning home. Mark had a few quirks and long hair. Most of all he had a survivor's attitude and a sharp wit. At one point he shared his high school dreams and his experience of rapid entry into the military with me. He prefaced the part about his scholarship to Arizona saying, ''I had hoped to be a track star. Instead I went to Viet Nam.''

Like Mark, the disciples were walking along the road wondering what it all meant. They had heard the good rabbi preach and were excited about the possibilities. They were in the crowd that Sunday when he came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. They spread their palm branches and garments on the ground to make his path smooth the same way their ancestors greeted kings coming back from victorious battle. They encounter a stranger who at first appears to act dumb. They were astoni ...

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