After my patriot father’s unexpected passing, three months later on July 24th, 2013, I changed the name of “Joy Coaching” to Joy Coaching” in his honor. He was an example of pure patriotism that was imprinted into my heart.
Perhaps this upgrade to “Joy Coaching” in 2013, after his passing, was also inspired by a series of incidents that I had with him when I was just eleven years old. My father, Commander Allyn E. Rowley, U.S. Navy, was stationed (with our family) at the Naval Air Station in Atsugi, Japan during the Viet Nam War. He was the Supply Officer there from 1970-1971.
While there, he was also appointed as the Military Clergy for the Serviceman’s Branch at the Naval Hospital. Dad often took me to visit the wounded servicemen each Sunday as he made the rounds encouraging and uplifting many a wounded soldier.
As an eleven year old girl, I did not understand “what all this fighting was for”. But, my father instilled in my heart, a great empathy, love and respect for these soldiers. He taught me by his example to reverence those who had given their lives to protect and defend the liberties and freedoms of those who were called to serve and paid dearly for their service. I often attended the servicemen’s branch where my father served as the Clergy for those wounded men.
On those sacred Sabbaths, I remember holding my father’s hand and walking down the corridors of Zama Hospital, hearing the soft cries and low moaning of young men’s voices who had been wounded in the war. Imprinted in my memory to this day, are the images of men burned beyond recognition by hand grenades.
I was an eye witness of many young men who rolled themselves up to the front of that very small congregation, in wheel chairs (without legs and arms) to bear pure testimonies of gratitude that their lives had been spared. I felt something burning within. It was my first testimony that “God Lives and Answers Prayers”.
I heard one young man bear witness that a bullet had shot through the front of his helmet and exited out the back of his helmet having never pierced his head. I heard him bear a pure witness, “I know that God lives! He spared my life!” I heard other’s exclamations of deep and sincere gratitude that their lives had been spared while they told even graver stories with tears streaming their cheeks, about their best friends who had not been as “fortunate”.
As an eleven year old child, I listened to their testimonies of God. With each story, I felt the burning in my heart increase. Their pure testimonies became my own! I knew that God lived because those young men told me so and I believed their witnesses!
At age eleven, I felt the same passion continuing to surge within my soul, as it had when it was first ignited in the first grade. I was a young girl, only six years old, watching a movie that my teacher showed us about Florence Nightengale. It was there at Tincher Elementary School. where my father had been stationed in Long Beach, California, that I felt that first impetus of deep compassion to minister to broken hearts.
I remember watching in awe, at age six, as “the lady with a lamp” went about ministering to the wounded soldiers during that war. My six-year- old -heart silently exclaimed, “I want to go to the battlefield and take care of broken hearts!” I remember thinking, “I don’t want to see all that yucky blood but I do want to help broken hearts to feel happy again!”
It was during that final visit with my father on April 24th, 2013, that I intuitively knew that I would never see him again in this life. He passed away at 4:22 a.m. on July 24th, 2013, exactly three months later to the day. The morning of his passing, I awoke to an American Flag standing proudly in my lawn. It was a perfect symbol of my father’s patriotism and love for his country. On his grave marker, I had inscribed, “Patriarch and Patriot” in his honor.
As I reminisce upon my father’s patriotism this morning, July 4th 2020, tears stream my cheeks. I have been listening to the news sending sound waves of cruelty, hate and deception as it escalates in this world. And again, I feel my heart breaking and wondering, “What is all this fighting for?”
How many of these young people have walked through hospital corridors and have witnessed the groanings and moanings that God allowed me to hear at age 11?
How many have witnessed heads wrapped in gauze pierced with deep wounds caused by gunfire? How many have experienced shrapnel being lodged in their organs? And….how many have heard the testimonies of young men (ages 19 and up) of how God miraculously spared their lives while they are now missing an arm or a leg having had them amputated by warfare?
How many of our American citizens have seen the ravages of war that I saw, on those handsome young faces, cringing in pain because of war?
How many mothers, sisters, future wives and daughters, were able to visit those young men when they were first wounded? Now these same men, our American Veterans, our Hero’s, forty-nine years later are in their late sixties and seventies! Their handsome young faces are now etched with the lines of their painful stories and countless petitions to God, that not many of us have even been willing to listen to?
As I open up my journal to write about July 4th, 2020, it is with a heart full of mixed emotions. I am praying for America today in a way that I have never dreamed I would ever pray for “Her” before.
In my mind’s eye, I see “Her” bowed like a statue of liberty, kneeling in fetal position, with a broken torch and a crumpled American Flag draped around her shoulders. I see tears of sorrow streaming her cheeks and I wonder…”Who will come and comfort America? Who will revive “Her” great Spirit? Who will remember…”Her” before it is everlastingly too late…Who will remember what made “Her” great in the first place?” Who will endeavor to repeat “Her” history truthfully?
I hear my father’s voice this early morning, speaking to my soul, as though he is whispering down the corridor that connects heaven to earth, “Continue. Continue. Continue the work that you are doing. America stands in need of comforters, now, more than ever before!”
And so, a small band of caring, kind, compassionate women…rise up…calling themselves, “Joy Coaches”. And we begin to spread across the battlefield call “one nation under God”. We will go about ministering to the wounded in spirit, the brokenhearted and the grieving. Not necessarily with P.H.D.’s in Psychology, but with hearts combined in that same spirit of empathy, love and kindness for which there is no degree.
What do we call ourselves? Comforters. There is no college degree for that. The work that we render will continue to bring comfort to those whose hearts and lives “have been broken in the wheels of living”.
For as Tennyson essentially once said, “Not even the angels of heaven can minister to mere mortals like those whose hearts have been broken in the wheels of living.”
And so…as the nation continues to grieve…. We will continue Joy Coaching…and beyond.
Sincerely, Karyn Lynn Rowley-Grant-Turley
Joy Coaching, CEO & President