Today is Memorial Day here in America. There will be remembrances in nearly every community. For the most part, those ceremonies have been the same each and every year since “anyone can remember”. I’ve been to many, participated in a few. They make me grateful.
The evolution of this weekend has become a celebration of picnics, the beach season officially opening, summer is here so gas prices rise and traffic jams along the coast & to mountainous resort areas increase for most. Yet, it is good to remember the real reason behind this holiday which has become a good excuse to buy a six pack, or another bottle or two of red.
Memorial day is about Death and Gratefulness. Death has been such a huge part of my life as I was a pastor for 22 years. Death was a reality I was always prepared to face, yet not quite ready to face. There was an expectation whether that death had just occurred, or was imminent in the next few months that I would be intimately involved in the process. When you are intimately involved with death on a regular basis, it can make you or break you. Think about it, there really isn’t a middle ground, is there? Well, I guess, middle ground would be numb.
Dealing with death has made me grateful. I know it hits others in different ways, but for me, grateful. I live with the understanding that each and every day is a gift. A gift to be opened, enjoyed and used. A gift to show off to your friends, and decide not to share with those . . . . well, you don’t want to share your daily gift with!
Yesterday, I spend some time with a friend at the grave of her father, she talked of his untimely death, “too young”, she said, “he was two years younger than I am now”. He, like my father, served in the Korean War. It was a precious time we had, talking of our Dad’s, being thankful that they served, but didn’t die in the war. Private, personal ceremony. A time to remember, it was beautiful. I walked away grateful.
When I think of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the military, and of their families who have had such great loss, of someone they loved gone, usually, “incredibly too young”, I am grateful. I’m grateful that because of them, I have the right to express my opinions on this blog, on social media, at the coffee house or on a public square. I’m grateful that I could choose to walk away from my career of 22 years because I couldn’t accept the ethics any longer. I’m grateful that I could start up and close a business or two. I’m grateful that I can talk on the phone, or text my family. I’m grateful that I can have a dog and a fish.
I started this blog because of the negativity pandemic that is going on in our society right now. I hate it, truly. But I’m grateful that we have the right to be miserable if we choose to be. Although I’m not a march-in-the-streets-protester, I can protest the life-sucking-negativity, in my own way because I have the freedom to do so.
So, my ceremony for today is my new discipline of early morning writing. I’m grateful I have that choice. I’m grateful for the many lives lost that give me the right to be who I am and for you to be who you are. I’m grateful for many years of being intimate with death so that I can celebrate life . . . daily.
What are you grateful for today?
Enjoying the Adventure, (And greatful to have the freedom to do so!)
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