Memorial Day is more than the end of a three-day weekend. We might have gathered with friends for a barbeque or gone rafting on the river. We might have stayed up last night to watch PBS share the holiday in our nation’s capital. Depending upon where in the United States we live, there might have been parades and celebrations that truly recognized those who gave their lives for our country’s freedom.
Even if they haven’t given their lives, our courageous men and women in the various branches of service have sacrificed for us. They have left their families, sometimes in situations that are less than perfect, and have gone across the world to face dangerous and unknown tactics of another people whose lives are also threatened by the turmoil and uncertainty that has become their way of life.
I honor those who are sacrificing for others, whatever their reasons – AND whatever their purpose…. or which side of a conflict they are on. If we look at the situation honestly, we realize that everyone involved is sacrificing for what they believe to be the “right.” Some will sacrifice their own well-being for the benefit of their fellow combatants. Some will sacrifice their safety to leave the sheltered area where their families are to “take the field of battle” away from their homes.
Our own soldiers have gone thousands of miles away, subjecting themselves to deplorable living conditions – sleep deprived and living on the edge of anxiety every moment. But they are not the only ones within those situations. The “enemy” on the other side is existing under similar conditions. I honor them, as well. Yes – because for the most part they are protecting their way of life. And under indoctrinations we will never understand, they see us as the foe who must be vanquished so that they can again live in what they have understood as peaceful situations.
When I breathe in God’s blessings – in the comfort and peace that I find around me – I cannot help but send my love and hope for peace to all the world’s peoples. I would see every child tucked in his or her bed at night by a loving parent, as they whisper “sleep with the angels”. I know that this is not our reality – but I would pray that it be so – for the world deserves peace and prosperity for all.
There are warring nations that have never known a peace as I would see it – but I must hold that vision in my heart and in my prayers, nonetheless. Because I am so truly grateful for the willingness of all people who do give of themselves for the benefit of others – that I envision this courageous sacrifice – this loving care and comfort for those less fortunate to be the reality of our world.
For as a pebble dropped into a pond creates ever-growing circles, I pray my blessing pebble into the sea of need and promise to do what is mine to do to begin the process in my sphere of influence. On this Memorial Day, I feel gratitude for those everywhere who have given of themselves, creating a more loving “pond” in which they serve.