Memorial weekend’s about honoring heroes, and remembering their legacies. It’s a solemn time in the lives of many, many Americans–a time to remember and revision who we are, as a people and as a nation.
I’ve been spending this Memorial weekend with my friends, Curt & Vi, and their five grown children. Everyone flew in or drove back to Pennsylvania to celebrate Curt’s 70th birthday with a surprise family reunion weekend. Four of the children, Curtis, Cheri, Kimberly, and Ryan, have been adopted, and one of them, Wayne, is their biological son. All of them have given Curt & Vi years of joy and happiness, along with the usual doses of parental angst. It was an awesomely peaceful, sunny, loving tribute to the lifelong legacy my friends have built around everyone they know.
Curt & Vi are my personal heroes. The closer we become, the easier it is to love and appreciate their lives. That’s not to say we’ve never had differences of opinion or shared personal shortcomings. But I am saying that my life, and the lives of their children, grandchildren, friends, families, and everyone they’ve touched across countries and continents, have been blessed and helped by their loving kindness. That’s a legacy worth celebrating.
So that’s where my head is tonight, as I sit here, reflecting on the weekend, and remembering my other Memorial weekend visits to Arlington Cemetery. I’ve been trying to contrast legacies, and trying to wrap my mind around the legacy of all the wars our country has fought, and the thousands of fallen military members, and their families. I’m not going to comment on war’s legacies. But as I walked the grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and as I sit here tonight, looking intently at the photos of all those tombstones, I remember the peace that settled over me there, and envelops me now.
There’s only one explanation for the peace I have experienced in Arlington, and for the peace that overwhelms us even in the middle of life’s most challenging moments–God heals, restores, and makes all things new… Without His intervening mercy, war’s legacy would be a tough sell.