Today, November 19, 2013, I learned that I must say goodbye to the best son any mother ever had, Marine Corps Major Luke Parker, who was killed in a plane crash Sunday. Life is never long enough when you love someone.
When I look back to my time as Luke’s mother, I know I was blessed by the LORD that He chose me out of all the other women on earth to be Luke’s mom.
Luke was hyperactive before hyper became a buzz word. At the doctor’s office, other children sat in their mother’s laps. Luke jumped off furniture, tore around the room like a wild fox, and shouted with laughter when I tried to catch him. When I finally caught him and attempted to restrain him, he screamed so loudly that we were taken into a waiting room in the back. There wasn’t enough space for him to bounce and run there, and by the time we left the doctor’s office I needed treatment for a raging headache. The Marine Corps was the perfect career for his boundless energy. He began training before he was out of high school, running four to six miles a day in every kind of weather.
Luke was born loving animals and they sensed that and loved him in return. Once when he was walking in New York, a thirsty bird landed on his shoulder. Luke feed the bird drops of water until it recovered and flew away. With Luke’s help, we rescued and saved dogs, cats, ravens opossums, frogs, tadpoles, snakes, lizards. I walked outside one day to find Luke hanging upside down in a tree teaching a baby opossum how to climb.
When Luke was four, the “experts” at a children’s clinic in Reno, Nevada, informed me that Luke had learning and developmental issues and would never do well in school or be particularly successful. My answer was, “As long as he loves Jesus and serves Him, I don’t care.”
The experts were wrong and Luke achieved everything he ever wanted to do. When he decided he wanted to play a trumpet, he learned. When he wanted to learn to play the piano, he took a few lessons and wound up playing in church. He was a skilled artist and poet, and in spite of the fact that he said he hated writing, he was entrusted to write newsletters for his Marine Corps unit. He decided he needed a college diploma and graduated from Stephen F Austin. He decided he wanted to learn to fly and earned not only a pilot’s license, but also his instrument and instructor’s ratings. He fell in love with an old army jeep and bought it and rebuilt and painted it from the ground up, learning as he went. He decided he wanted to buy a plane and found one of the only 19 surviving Focke Wulf planes in the world, which he kept in pristine shape. He and the plane went down on Sunday, Nov. 17. If he could have chosen the way to go – that’s what he would have chosen. From the sky into the arms of Jesus.
I could be proud that Luke made the rank of Major; that he graduated from college; that he and his plane performed in air shows; that he ran marathons. I am proud of all those things, but what I am most proud of him for is for having been a great dad to his daughter and walking with God.
Luke read his Bible nearly every day and prayed constantly. He would want me to use this opportunity to encourage you to consider where you will be when you die and make sure it’s heaven. You’ll get to see him there! Because of Luke, one of my favorite Bible verses is 3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Proud of you, Son. Thank you for walking in truth. I’ll see you soon!