It was Thanksgiving Day in 1968, and I was a combat photographer assigned to cover activities of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. We were at the site of a remote artillery fire support base, in the Central Highlands. It was cloudy and misty as we waited for the arrival of a hot traditional Thanksgiving dinner flown in by a support helicopter. But because of the precarious flying conditions, we were doubtful that the chopper could make a landing.
From my position in an underground bunker, I suddenly heard the loud and frantic screams of a soldier yelling, “Oh, God! Oh, God! Please help me!”
Several of us rushed out of the nearby bunkers and ran toward the sound of his cries, but what we discovered caused us to stop dead in our tracks.
We soon learned that the panic-stricken soldier had been seated less than six feet from a fellow soldier who accidentally discharged an M79 grenade launcher. The unexploded projectile had lodged in a soft part of the man’s collarbone area, partially protruding out of his back. Due to the short distance of the trajectory, and the fact that it did not pass through his body, the grenade was not fully armed and did not explode. Since we were uncertain as to if or when it might detonate, no one was eager to get too close to the soldier or provide assistance. All the while, he continued to scream for God to help him.
"God expresses in our lives to the degree that we are ready and willing to receive. And when we step forward, others will follow."Michael Sheets
In the midst of the confusion, a young sergeant arrived on the scene. Even though he was not a trained medic, he immediately began to administer first aid, applying a compression bandage to the wound. He spoke calmly and reassuringly to the wounded soldier. Others in the unit began to step forward to assist, and arrangements were made for a medevac chopper. Slowly, the weather began to improve, and eventually, the medevac chopper and the helicopter carrying our holiday meal were able to land. The wounded soldier was flown to a field hospital for treatment. Certainly, this was a day we all had much to be thankful for.
These events happened more than 20 years before I became involved with Unity. Although my religious upbringing had been based on a fairly liberal understanding of Christianity, I had always viewed God as something distant and external. What I had seen that day changed my mind. God had indeed answered that young man’s prayer through the selfless and loving actions of a fellow soldier, expressing as God. When I subsequently began to study and apply Unity teachings in my life, this past event came back to me. It all made perfect sense. God expresses in our lives to the degree that we are ready and willing to receive. And when we step forward, others will follow.
This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.