At long last it is here; the anticipated official beginning of summer. Days to be warm enough without wearing five layers of clothing, days when picnics and swimming are no longer but a dream but a possibility. Days where the eau de perfume is Deet for protection against all manner of insects. How we all love the summer!
But wait. Before we head out for the picnic, have we forgotten something? Before we launch into all manner of celebration, most of us pause to remember. Did we bring everything? Have we forgotten something? We’d hate to be on the picnic and to have forgotten the paper plates, or the bug spray.
Pausing and checking that we have taken time to remember is what Memorial Day is about. Remembering with thanksgiving that the freedoms we enjoy were purchased by the sacrifice of others who served on our behalf. Men and women who gave of themselves in the service of this, our country—some of whom bear the physical and emotional scars of their service—and some who made the supreme sacrifice by giving their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. Memorial Day stands as an ensign lest we forget the truth expressed in the comment “freedom isn’t free.”
And neither is salvation for that matter. In both cases, we would shy away from language about the necessity of sacrifice. We had rather be carefree, happy-go-lucky, not weighed with the care and concern that these topics generate. We don’t like to have to remember that there is no such a thing as freedom from responsibility. We may have freedom of choice; we do not have freedom from the responsibility of the choices that we make. That news is about as welcome as a fly drowned in the cucumber salad at a picnic, but that news is intrinsically part of the mystery of life.
The use of various sorts of substances is at a pandemic level among many in our community. Many compromise their freedom in exchange for addiction. Many people in our culture turn to drugs such as alcohol and other substances lest they remember. Sadly, pain often enough is associated with remembering. But what makes us human is our ability to remember. But we pause this Memorial Day. Lest we forget.