This last weekend was Memorial Day. It seemed odd to be enjoying a beautiful day, relaxing and laughing with friends when the premise for this holiday is to remember those who can no longer enjoy such festivities, those who gave their lives in service.
I thought of the battles they may have endured, the wars they valiantly fought, and the empty places they left in this world when they died. There are communities lacking leaders and organizations missing hard workers. There are wives without husbands and husbands without wives. There are homes without fathers, mothers, daughters and sons. I contemplated the impact of their lives as well as the impact of their loss…..all while basking in the sunshine on a beach, boating, playing bocce ball and corn hole, going to a winery, laughing a lot and drinking and eating with good friends. The irony weighed heavy on my heart.
I could not help but think of different battles this Memorial Day.
It was a Memorial Day weekend when my father lost his battle with cancer. Each year I find myself quietly mourning the loss, while celebrating his life. I am forever impacted by how he lived, laughed and loved. A summer storm, rain evaporating off a heated driveway, and distant thunder, always brings my heart to a halt. I easily envision my dad sitting at the edge of the garage, sweet tea in hand, taking in the show. Like the soldiers who died in service, he too lost his life in battle, the treacherous battlefield of cancer…all my Memorial Days are tinted with the need to celebrate and never forget.
This Memorial Day, we joined dear friends as they honored their daughter, Linmarie, in a memorial service. She too lost her life battling cancer. The day was filed with familiar conflicting emotions. In the church service we reverently shared in loss and heartache with her family and friends. Following the service we equally shared in the celebration of her life…..once again, my Memorial Day meets with the need to celebrate and never forget.
As a nation, we take this time to honor those who lost their lives in service for our country. We honor them by celebrating their life and service. We honor them by living a life worthy of their sacrifice. We honor them by enjoying our freedoms as we gather together for fellowship, fly the American flag and partake in religious activities without fear. Memorial Day, a time to celebrate and never forget.
As the sun eased down over the horizon Monday night, I looked out at the orange and pink hued display. It was as if I could see God Himself celebrating. A reminder of the preciousness of life, each day a gift of grace. Night will come, darkness may envelope us, but God is over all our darkest hours and deepest losses. He is our Prince of peace in un-peaceful times and our comfort when the world cannot offer us comfort. Every sunset serves as a memorial. Every sunset a reminder to celebrate and never forget.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted…..A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance…”