No everyone, I’m not talking about the movie. Mission Impossible has been in my life for many years now and I want to explain why it’s important to me and my family. It’s what’s written on the back of the fighter pilot helmet in my house. That’s right, many of you have been to my house and have probably never paid attention to the helmet. Like the person it belonged to, it is pretty inconspicuous and forgotten. Even totally looked over at times. The helmet says mission impossible because it was to be for a Vietnam War pilot named Dennis Graham. Dennis “Denny” Graham, whom I never met, means more to me than I can put in words.
You see, Denny fought and died for our country in the Vietnam War and like so many other veterans, has been forgotten. Denny said in 1963 when he left to fly the F-111A, he would never return because the plane was not combat ready. He knew the plane was at least 30 years ahead of its time and he turned out to be very correct on both parts. It’s my understanding that Denny was an amazing pilot and had planned to return after the war to begin astronaut training. He was a graduate of Texas A&M University and he knew what his goals were. It must have been amazing knowing this man. When my parents received that dreadful call that his plane was shot down over Cambodia, my parents couldn’t help but think of his words. He did not take his job lightly when he received the call to go he did. He went to Vietnam with a plane not fully combat ready but did it willingly because it was his calling in life. Following this calling was so important to him that he died for it. That’s honor no matter how you look at it. Honor for him, his family, his country but above all, for his God. It was God that put his calling in his heart and for this, God’s Glory was fulfilled in Denny’s life.
The reason Dennis Graham means so much to me is not because he was my dad’s cousin. It is not because he is a war hero in my family. It is not because I think I have to have him on my heart. It’s because every time my name is said, part of him is honored. My mom and dad had enough respect and love for this man that they named one of their sons after him. It’s about a legacy. A legacy passed to me because of His calling in his life. My parents thought so highly of this man and what he stood for that they gave his name to me.
But it’s more than a name to me, it’s something to treasure and try to protect. It’s something to remember. To remember that God has placed a calling on my life and it’s up to me to seek it out and go in the direction God wants me. To lead my family in the Godly direction instead of wandering in the desert for years looking for it. And finally, to answer the call no matter what it is or where it is. Answer the door when God knocks because I will never know the fullness of the blessing He has for me, unless I answer that call.
Yes, it’s very fitting that the helmet says mission impossible. For Dennis Graham, the impossible mission was merely going to Vietnam with a bum plane but the reality of finding his calling was the true mission and was possible. It doesn’t have to be an impossible mission to find God’s calling; it only has to be a mission you accept.
Love you all!