This Monday was Memorial Day in the U.S. and we did a lot of remembering. Besides recalling and mourning the fallen soldiers, we also remembered other bittersweet life events. Loss of loved ones military and otherwise, loss of relationships we thought would last a lifetime, and loss of respect for some of our country and world’s leadership.
But there are losses I likely caused too and I mourned those as well. Some long ago from words spoken in haste or pain, or even in what I thought were spiritual fervor, which I now realize were really words and timing of youthful ignorance. I wish I could as easily call that person and say remember when, and we could laugh about how foolish it was. But I have no idea where that person is and pray for their belated understanding and forgiveness. Then there was one not as long ago from a word spoken of which I’d misunderstood its meaning. It pains to recall what I thought was friendship and the loss without explanation. The mystery of why, and finally the revealing by another of what I said, what it really meant, and how the other party interpreted its meaning. Oh the many times of attempted restoration which would not be received. How bitter it was to think it was I who had done it.
Some things are hard to remember, but easier with a prayer that I might look at others the way God sees them, and to accept my own redemption as complete.
And there are great remembrances too. Remembering that moment of gifting when a friendship began. (Like the zany friend who types on Facebook messages, ‘Aren’t you going to answer the phone?” and then the phone rings), Healing and hilarious trips with my sisters. The thrill of meeting my husband and knowing he was as attracted to me as I was to him. Remembering a dear couple inviting the ‘baby Christians’ to their home for chicken and noodles and fellowship and to chuckle at our different worlds (revealed through a game of Biblical charades when we had no clue what they were talking about). And reconciliations – some long awaited, some that seemed hopeless to us, but in God’s plans we were privileged to see and experience.
There’s the memory too, of a young student stopping by the office to say thank you for caring when it seemed no one else did. Or the memory of a young person in youth group asking, “Would you pray with me? The joy of a reader saying I blessed them. The special moment of knowing I have a new forever friend. The memory of a young soldier thanking me (so ironic) for love and prayers and support…And the memory of standing on the back porch on the fourth of July and ‘hearing God speak into my heart’ that I was thankful for the gift of those who gave their lives for my physical freedom, why would I not accept the gift of life His son gave for my spiritual freedom?
Remembering, of course, special moments with our children and grandchildren stopping by or sending a note ‘just to say I love you,’ decades-long friends praying as our children grew and left the nest or went to heaven, and ministry partners whose losses and gains we have together known.
Tears of sorrow and tears of joy. – Psa. 56:8 ¶ Thou hast taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Thy bottle; Are they not in Thy book?
Mal. 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
But for now I am wondering – have you recently had a memorial day? What did you remember?