Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I'm going to launch into a little ramble here today. Nothing polished, nothing well thought out, just a few thoughts.
I haven't been my usual blogging self. The fact is, I am extremely busy, and am pulled in so many directions.
Last week was another Moon Howlin' Monday with my buddies. We went to a new place, had some great conversations, theology, politics, family, good stuff.
Work is getting faster paced as we slip and slide toward year's end. The kids are getting more distracted and the staff is squeezing in as much as possible. Rock and a hard place scenario.
The challenges continue, and honestly, I am weary of talking about them. There are the legal challenges (green cards & citizenship), psychological (Isaac has been hurting himself, and we suspect he may be slightly autistic), personal (marriage health), physical (my psoriasis is causing me to bleed in several places), and much more. But, as I said, let's move on to another topic.
This weekend was Memorial Day weekend, and for many Americans, an extra day off from work.
But it is more than that. First, more importantly, most importantly, it's a day to honor those who defended, and defend, our freedom. I thank every veteran I meet for their sacrifice and dedication.
For those who sport bumper stickers which read "Support Our Troops" I wonder: "How?"
I suggest we support our troops by fixing the V. A. medical benefits and its care system. I suggest we provide decent death benefits. I suggest we give veterans reasonable tours of duty, especially those who are the "weekend warriors" of the National Guard, who did not enlist to put in years of combat duty.
I'm digressing. I think to honor our vets we need to honor their sacrifice, respect our flag (I always stand and cover my heart when it passes at parades, and I dislike seeing it used as bunting for rallies and car sales). But on to the point.
Memorial Day is also a day for us to honor those who we personally miss. And I failed to do that this weekend. I did not visit Willy's grave this weekend. For the first time in 15 years I did not place flowers on his headstone on Memorial Day.
It's not that we didn't remember. I think it's just that we didn't feel the need. I don't know. It still hurts when I think about it, but... I don't know...
We had Brenda's family over on Saturday. Big Bar B Que. It was fun.
And we did it again on Monday.
And when it was all done, when the BBQr was clean and the house picked up and my garden weeded I fulfilled something I started 16 years ago when I planted a pair of cherry trees the exactly right distance apart.
I went and bought a hammock.
I took out the latest copies of Scientific American and National Geographic, read a little, and drifted off. Ah... now that is planning. Sixteen years in preparing for that nap!
When I woke up it was delicious. I was still drowsy and a breeze was starting to rock the hammock a little. A brilliant blue sky stretched over the branches above me.
I thought a little about Memorial Day. About those who fought in wars, and how those wars led to so much suffering. About our current war, and how much of the world sees the U.S. as a bully, which saddens me.
Every veteran I have ever spoken to about war has said it is an enterprise which should be avoided as much as possible. And, honestly, I have grave misgivings over many of the wars my country has been involved in... Vietnam, Korea, the Mexican American War... and even the war that is easiest to defend, World War II, gives me a little pause. I look at the root causes of it, The Great Depression, the punishments heaped upon Germany after The Great War, the tolerance exhibited by the world, and the U.S. of the rearming of Germany, I wonder if it could have been avoided by other means...
I have avoided talking politics on this blog. And I am doing so now. I'm not ignorant of them. I have not missed voting a single time since I came of age 33 years ago. But when I think about Jesus, what He stood for, how He would act and think and do, I come to this conclusion:
Jesus would not have even registered to vote.
Politics was simply not on His radar. People tried to push it on Him. They wanted him to be a political messiah. They wanted Him to take a stand. And there were big issues for Him. There was the occupation of their country by the Roman Empire. They had a king (Herod) more interested in living in luxury than in ruling his lands. Slavery, women's rights, simple justice, all large issues which many tried to get Him to take a stand upon.
He was focused on a larger issue, a larger kingdom.
So, for those who defend my country, who have stood in harm's way, or left loved ones so they may serve a greater good, I offer this prayer:
Heavenly Father, Bless those who serve You, especially those who are followers of You and are standing in the gap. I pray Lord that the deeds they are asked to do are honorable, and bring hope, and solace, and healing to the world. I pray Lord for wisdom in those who lead. May they be granted discernment and given good advice. May they be reluctant to give directives and orders which lead to suffering, and are eager to see solutions which benefit many. Protect all those who are in harms' way Lord, that there be less sorrow, greater love, more joy. Strengthen the families of those who serve, especially the ones which bear the greatest burdens which come from the conflicts of men. Lord, I pray for my nation, that it may lead the world with compassion and understand and sacrifice, bringing healing to the broken, freedom to the enslaved, and prosperity to the impoverished. And most of all, Lord, I pray that the work of those who represent my country be used by You to bring glory to You, that more will find their way to Your kingdom, see a greater truth than the ones which lead men into conflict. --Amen.