Forgiveness or Permission?

Rank Does Have Its Privileges

Memories are wonderful things. They are treasures we acquire throughout our life and what makes them special is that we get to share them with others. Most people think that because I'm a minister I have led a very routine life. However, as a former Infantry Instructor I too have a fair number of stories to share with anyone who might be inclined to listen. I have discovered memories are best shared with people who have gone through similar experiences.

My friend Bill is one of those people. As a former Air Force Colonel he is a true patriot who has served our country well. With 30 years of service behind him Bill has many memories to share. His southern drawl gives these tales of yesteryear that little extra when it comes to recollecting his military experiences. But I will admit, when Bill and I are together it seems that he does most of the talking and I do most of the listening because his tales always seem a bit taller than mine.

One day the two of us were at the local hardware store picking up a couple items needed to complete a project at Bill's house. While we were there Bill discovered another "much needed" gadget for his tool box. However, this new addition to his tool box was more expensive than he had planned to spend and I know that his wife would never agreed to the purchase if she knew how much money Bill was about to spend for his new toy.

Although his saintly wife has tolerated Bill's purchases over recent years, she has made it very clear that enough is enough when it comes to any future tool acquisitions.

"Aren't you afraid that Billy Sue will throw you into the dog house if you spend that much money," I said trying to keep my friend out of hot water.

"One thing I learned in the military is that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission," was Bill's reply.

I've heard this expression many times before, but Bill's recollection of that quotation is the exact opposite of the saying I had learned during my years of service.

With a smile, I told Bill, "When I was in the Army I always heard that it was easier to ask for permission than forgiveness."

"That might be true," Bill said with his slow southern drawl. "And now you know the real difference between being a sergeant and being a colonel."

Copyright 2011 Raymond C. Nolan
Rev. Raymond C. Nolan has served as a minister for over 35 years and is presently the Assistant Pastor at Daybreak United Methodist Church in Miflin, Alabama. His positive outlook on life serves as an inspiration to all who know him.

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Read some of Ray's other writings too:

Blessings In Disguise

Changing Seasons

Missing The Obvious

We're Never Too Old To Teach

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Does God Have A Sense Of Humor?

Becoming Too Available

Bernie and Me

The Birthday Cake Rematch

Quitter Or Failure