There were so many stories and events that I wanted to share with you the past month or so, but, not writer's block but writer's catalog made procrastination a much more immediate reward. Writer's catalog is what overwhelms me when so many things need to be done that in the end I just continue with something else. You can see I just made that term up, aptly describing the lack of discipline in my head vaguely resembling my desk.
A friend sent me a series of cartoons depicting the current season of Memorial Day in which we celebrate those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who are living with broken lives for the sake of our freedom and prosperity.
Twice today I got a lump in my throat. These cartoons were the first cause. I easily (and insufficiently) slipped into those families' lives and felt their grief on my skin having only a gravestone by which to remember their loved ones. All they have is a cold stone, with never changing words, as a token of their most compelling thoughts and desires, frozen for eternity.
Once, at church, a lady from a sharing-congregation lost her daughter, the circumstances under which she died I cannot recall any longer. In our attempts to comfort her she bravely stated, with the raw grief visible in her entire demeanor, that parents have no business outliving their children. That shook all of us who heard it - shook us because of the reality and truth of the statement. At what terrible price was that experience gained?
At what terrible price do we acquire our freedom? At what terrible price will we regain lost liberties; regain our foothold on the slippery slopes of rhetoric into which most of us have bought?
A correspondent wrote about the flight, in which he was a co-pilot, which was delayed because he didn't show up on time. Almost 100 holiday makers were steaming at the gate having to wait for such an irresponsible crew member.
As he left the house on his way to the airport he noticed that his dog was gravely ill. Not just any dog but the dog that he and his wife nursed from a flea-infested pavement mutt to a trusted, well mannered member of his family for the past 12 years. Understandably, he was terribly upset when his friend died while the vet was examining him on the stainless steel table. It was just the end of his life. So, when he slid into the right hand seat of the airliner his uniform was still full of dog hair and spit from carrying it into the vet's rooms. And tears. His.
For being late and delaying a flight, he got reprimanded and received unsolicited lectures about doggy-heaven and the afterlife. To his grief anger was attached by ill-advised people around him.
Why am I telling you this?
Perhaps we should recognize what attaches anger to our grief when we celebrate the lives and sacrifices of those who got up and walked into the path of an oncoming bullet, or sat in a vehicle that was on track to detonate a bomb.
If we tolerate, even in the smallest measure, those who diminish that sacrifice, that life, that purpose, we allow ourselves to be distracted numbing us to the cause of our liberty and prosperity.
Guard against the holiday and the festivities drowning our obligation to pause and reflect on our heroes, and the parents who are outliving their children and children outliving their parents.
I got the other lump in my throat, and cried.