It's a quiet, peaceful morning today. When I walked Scout there was almost no traffic on the roads. Most of us are waking up slowly into this holiday Monday with the practiced ease of people who inherited our freedom rather than earned it ourselves.
The men and women who earned it for us are the reason we have a Memorial Day. I pray we never forget.
Just yesterday evening I had a kind of epiphany, and I realized the extent of what we have and how amazing it is to live this life that we enjoy. Sixteen of us were gathered at David and Karin Dale's house for an informal version of our small group for "POGs" (Parents Of Grads). Our friends are great - such a diverse amalgam of life and personality and experience, and we love one another deeply. We laugh; we cry; we share deep needs and huge joys; we talk about our children; we rant about some of the stuff we deal with from day to day; we hold one another accountable; we pray.
But this particular evening, as I watched the interactions and listened to the conversations, I had this profound sense of gratitude for all the people who have sacrificed so much over the years to guarantee us this freedom. We can enjoy one another without even the faintest flickering of an inkling of fear, or doubt, or holding back, or concern that anything we do or say or joke about is under any scrutiny at all.
Rebekah and I had dinner recently with a Christian from a former Soviet Bloc country in Easter Europe. Even today, many years into his country's journey into political freedom, the suspicions and defenses of the past have a vise-grip on the ability of people - even people in church together - to relate without fear.
In a community where neighbors routinely informed on one another, where teachers took what they learned about families from the children to the authorities, and where it was impossible to be honest or unguarded anywhere, anytime - the fear lingers to this day.
Small groups where friends honestly share their struggles and joys? Not really possible. Gatherings of friends where everything on my mind or yours could be spilled on the table? Not in that culture. Not for at least a generation or so into the future...
And here we sit, free beyond most of the world's imagination, and we abuse it and take if for granted and - worse - voluntarily give liberty up in favor of oppressors like debt, ignorance, bad religion, and an unwillingness to participate by voting, thinking, questioning etc...
So, HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY. Let's live as if it really does mean something.