Why I Won’t Wish Anyone a Happy Memorial Day

Memorial DayThough I have left this blog quiet for various reasons (READ: life), sometimes life needs to be paused to reflect and allow gratitude to wash over us. Today, I will share time with my family, grateful for the simple pleasures afforded me by those whom I have never met and those gave their all.

This morning, I wrote and posted this (see below) on my personal and TM Facebook pages.

Yesterday, I decided I won’t wish anyone a Happy Memorial Day. Here’s why:

1. Yesterday, as I surveyed my garden, I listened to the (relative) quiet around me.There was no sound of bombers or air raid horns, no sounds of tanks rolling down my streets, no children, mothers, or fathers crying out in pain. The white noise of my neighborhood is birds and cars and the occasional passenger jet. Afternoon thunder and the possible tornado warning stir fears, not IEDs or the sobs of refugees.

2. I looked at the various plants in my yard, re-awakening in their predictable fashion, and I was filled with gratitude that my garden– MY LIFE– is filled with wonderful predictability.

3. I thought about the people in war-torn countries, specifically, the women, mothers and daughters, whose lives are threatened and torn apart on a daily basis by evil. Then, I thought about my own girls. I thought about my mother, who lived during WWII and all the subsequent wars until her death in 2004. Had she worried with a mother’s heart about the future of her own children and her grandchildren? She must have. I thought about my father, who served during WWII and the fears he must have revisited every time a story of war made the nightly news until his death in 2001. Had he become numb to the horror of it all or found a way to compartmentalize it? Did the fears change when he became a father? There were horrors he never spoke of.

4. I pondered the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Whereas I am so very grateful to all that have and do serve and their families, there is a difference in these days. One celebrates all who have served, the other is to honor those that served and died while serving.

5. And then, I considered the BBQs and family gatherings that will take place across the county today, marking the “opening of summer”, and I realized these celebratory gatherings really are a way of honoring those that have fallen, by LIVING OUR FREEDOM OUT LOUD, gathered together, in our homes and in parks, toasting franks and marshmallows, WITHOUT FEAR. That is freedom. That is what the men and women who have fallen were protecting–our freedom to gather and to celebrate in individual ways, ways that make America diverse and America great.

6. So, I decided, as always, I want all to have a wonderful day as you gather with friends and family to celebrate the start of summer. But, this day isn’t happy for many who will be visiting graveyards, holding pictures to their hearts, or tracing the letters on a dog tag. Today is their day to remember, too. So,in addition to honoring those that have fallen, I ask you join me in honoring those family members left behind. Spend a few moments thinking about what you enjoy because someone gave you their all.

Along with wonderful memory-making, today, I wish you all a contemplative day as you remember those that served, and fell, protecting your freedom.

May God bless the fallen and may God bless those left behind that are mourning on this day.

Finding Joy in Every Day

Beach quote

Morning came early today. Ironically, it was no earlier than any other morning but, after several stress filled days, my eyes felt heavier than usual. However, my heart was singing because I knew that, within a few short hours, I would be on my way to San Diego where I would give my stress wings and let it fly away.

My flight touched down well before noon  today, and it was during our final decent into San Diego that I first caught a glimpse of the ocean, that beautiful vast blanket of blue. My heart leaped, filled with joy and excitement. Then, while lost in my reverie, I began mentally listing the joy-filled moments that had already filled my morning; the same morning that had begun just hours earlier with gritty eyes and tired bones.

In my mind, I retraced my steps and the list grew with each step:

1. My husband, who reached over and touched my arm and whispered “good morning” and asked if there was anything he could do to help before I slipped from between the covers.

2. Then, Sammy, our old Beagle, who greeted me with his big brown eyes filled with love. Though too tired to lift himself from his bed, he was too excited to contain his waggy tail.

3. My sweet, sweet A, who insisted on joining us on the ride out to the airport so she could say goodbye. She awakened without complaint and filled with excitement for me in my “girls’ week o’ fun.”

4. There was Urvek, our new Guide Dog for the Blind puppy, who loves without reservation and brought a smile to many weary travelers at DIA.

And, though there were many more moments of joy that filled my day, I will end this post with this extra special moment in my morning:

5. Seeing my sister’s smile when I came around the corner to baggage claim.

Though I wasn’t planning on following the suggested December NaBloPoMo “Joy” theme, it would seem joy has certainly been following me, reminding me to look and find joy in every day.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

ReclaimingMary.com ~ The Adventures of a Midlife Renewal: One thought, one step, one adventure at a time. (Formerly www.TransitioningMom.com)

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