With two children in the military, who have already lost friends they trained and served with, Memorial Day takes on particular significance and gravity for me each year. I LOVE THIS COUNTRY, and will never apologize for the pride I feel that my children have, of their own volition, sworn to “defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
However, my reality is that of military families everywhere who live aware that on any given day, at any time, our loved ones could lose their lives fulfilling that oath. The paperwork they have to fill out about their “remains” reminds you. The tattoos the military records so their body parts are identifiable remind you. News of hostilities anywhere remind you. Movies and TV shows you can no longer watch, remind you.
I actually remember allowing myself one hour and forty-five minutes to cry; the time it took to drive to my son’s swearing-in, and then the shock when that same son administered the oath to his sister in a surprise ceremony that had me feeling so proud, but again, shedding a few tears.
Since then, I have had many “go to Jesus moments!” The veil in the temple was torn (Mark 15:38), so I am not waiting for any special invitation! But more than anything I have learned to pray earnestly for my kids and others who serve. To ditch the meaningless platitudes and pray the most important thing… that no matter where they serve, or what happens to them, they would never be forever separated from the presence of God.
“All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” II Samuel 14:14 NLT
Truth be told we should all LIVE AWARE of this reality. Just last week my friend hung out with her beloved mom on an ordinary morning, and lost her that afternoon. No warning; no prolonged illness; just gone… home… to Jesus… face to face… seeing with her eyes, what she believed by faith!
So yes, Memorial Day is coming again, and we make plans to celebrate with family and friends. Please take a beat to remember and honor the sacrifice of those we’ve lost, and the loved ones they’ve left behind. Remember too that, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9