Anyone that knows me, knows I hold our military in the highest regard. I have both family and friends that have served and/or are currently serving to protect our freedom. Once upon a time, I was wife to someone that worked pretty darn close to the military so I have had my fair share of exposure. And I love how our country celebrates Memorial (and Veteran's Day) but I have to wonder how we honor our military the day after the Memorial holiday?
Usually we return to our normal lives and at most we might be a bit more sun-kissed than the day before Memorial Day. We return to work, school, etc. and get to go about our days without missing a beat. But for the people that are recognized on Memorial Day, the day after is just as painful as the holiday. The loss is equally palpable.
This year Memorial Day meant a little bit more to me, as a childhood friend lost his life this past year. And although he wasn't in active duty, I will be forever thankful for his service and his family for sacrificing for my freedom. And although we typically hold Memorial Day for those that have sacrificed their life protecting ours...I would make an argument that every single person in the military loses a part of their life for their service. And their families lose out on living a 'normal life' like the majority of us are able to live. Our active military lose out on seeing the birth of children, celebrating anniversaries/birthdays/holidays, spending time with elderly parents, having dinner with family, hearing a baby's first words...the list goes on and on. Our military often spend months overseas where a general concern for their own life consumes them every single second of the day and night. And then they are expected to come home and immediately re-integrate into our normal lives. I do not know about you but I can count on one hand the times I have actually been concerned for my own life in the past 31 years. Our military are often concerned for their life at least every 31 seconds. There is an element of adaptation that isn't quite normal and often our military take on this struggle silently. And for some this struggle will haunt them for the rest of their lives. And for others, it is too unbearable for them to continue with life. No matter how you slice it, there is always a loss. There is always a sacrifice.
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.
To the families of our military...thank you for loving our military through the tough times. The times when they are far away and you never truly know if they are safe. Thank you for isolating yourself from the media so you do not live in fear moment-to-moment. Thank you for being single parents and trying to explain to your children why mommy or daddy is missing out on being part of their life. Thank you for picking up your lives over and over again during the many reassignments that come with military service. Thank you for being patient and understanding when your loved one returns home....but doesn't return home quite the same. Thank you for loving our military like no one else loves our military.
So this Memorial Day...and more specifically the days after the holiday, I pray for our military. Those that have lost a part of their lives that is silent to the world around them. I pray for those that struggle with beasts and/or memories that I only have to fear in my nightmares. Thank you for sacrificing a part of your soul...for my freedom. No words, love, or expression of gratitude will ever come close to what you have given me. And to your families...I thank you equally.
Freedom, sacrifice, and the days after Memorial Day,
This blog in particular is dedicated to the memory of a childhood friend and his two brothers. You were on my heart every single day this week and in my prayers.
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.