I'm kinda quiet on this Memorial Day.
There's nothing being fired up on our grill outside.
I'm not going to the beach.
And having the day off has quite honestly just made me think about all the work that's going to be piled up waiting for me tomorrow.
But the real reason I'm kind of quiet is because I wrestled with a lot of thoughts about today.
Earlier this week I was putting together two presentations for Memorial Day weekend at church. A friend of mine in the church who is very sick at this time and being treated at the Moffitt Cancer Center requested that we do Battle Hymn of the Republic. The best rendition that we do of that at Celebration is with a trio arrangement. I corralled a soprano and a tenor and brushed that up and brought it out for this occasion, not just to honor our soldiers but our dear friend. It broke my heart a few weeks ago when my friend said, "can you please sing it while I'm still here?" My response: "Just to be clear, I'm never giving up on your healing...but yes, we'll do the song." :)
And then I was feeling a tug to sing Janet Paschal's "Another Soldier's Coming Home". I decided to put together a Power Point presentation to go with it that included lots of photos of soldiers and their families and war and military funerals. Working with it for hours in preparation got my thoughts churning.
If I was a wife or a Mom whose husband, son or daughter lost their life in military service, how would I feel about today and people's typical responses?
I suspect I might bristle at the very least when people quipped about their 3-day weekend, and the steaks on the grill, and their time at the amusement park with the family, and their day off at the beach, and their "it-doesn't-get-any-better-than-this!" statuses on Facebook.
So, putting myself in these women's shoes, I decided not to do that this year.
Yes, I know it's because their husbands or children gave their lives that we can do all these wonderful things on this holiday. And I'm truly grateful.
But after looking at hundreds of pictures of real (not models or stock photos) wives and moms grieving at funerals, and little children carrying folded flags, I just can't be so cavalier about what my family and I are going to enjoy today. I'm thinking about a wife or Mom who is looking through her old photos today, or going to a grave site. I'm giving consideration to all the tears she's going to shed today because there's still an empty place at the table.
It makes me sad. And my thoughts and prayers are directed today at all those who have lost someone special to them. Because that ache never goes away.
Perhaps the best way we can honor those who have passed is to pray for their loved ones who are still living without them. That's what God spoke to me this week.
Won't you join me in prayer for a few moments today, for those who have suffered loss?