Memorial Day weekend is an important seasonal marker. In the Buffalo area, some of us joke that the snow is usually melted by now, when in fact it is daffodil blossoms that have fallen and melted away into humus for next year’s growth. To paraphrase, Except a daffodil falls into the ground and dies, it has opted out of Life’s plan. But if it dies, it brings forth many future blossoms. (see John 12, especially v.24)
Memorial Day is about remembering. As some have said freedom isn’t free. Yes, a high cost has been paid. Some understand this. Others, not so much. But the season invites us annually to pause from our liberties to reflect. Of course, some duties require our labor, not affording us time off. But such duties don’t generally preclude reflection. Gratitude is understanding. Are we grateful for what has been done for us?
I remember being a Cub Scout, and refusing to march in a Memorial Day parade because the memory of the previous year’s march was still vivid – heat, thirst, weary feet, boredom. So I adamantly refused, and my mother then excused my participation; but she wouldn’t allow me to attend the festivities after the parade. Clearly, I didn’t understand yet what had been done for me only a decade earlier, by those who didn’t come home from WW2. (I may not yet understand sacrifice, but I’m more focused and curious.)
Do we remember? Are we curious? Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15, especially v.13)
Painting: MOWING THE LAWN ON MEMORIAL DAY, oil on canvas, by Eric Chaffee, from photo by me, 1996. Awarded Landmark Prize, Alden Art Club, 2000.