A Way to Respond to Memorial Day

I have been a licensed local pastor in the Methodist Church for just under two years. During this time, I have been blessed to see so many special moments where God’s grace has wrapped us, His children, like a warm blanket. 

One of those moments is when I prepare for a funeral. I’ve probably participated in about a dozen funerals since stepping into this pastoral role. While the event itself certainly has some serious overtones, there is always a moment where the room becomes a special place. That moment isn’t in the eulogy, the internment, or even the beauty of the flowers. In my experience, that moment is when the family members open their hearts and tell stories about the deceased. When I am trying to get to know the people who have gone on, I love to hear their closest family and friends regale the room with the fondest memories they possess. 

I almost always hear about their smiles, their laughter, their passion, and the love that they had for those closest to them. When I’m listening to those who are grieving tell stories about those they lost, I always hear about life. Not once have I heard stories where people want to focus on the loss; instead, they concentrate on the life that person lived.

It is as true for the grandma who has seen her great-grandchild, or the Soldier who was taken far too soon. Memorial Day isn’t about mourning those who were lost, but rather celebrating the lives they lived.  

Each of us is somebody’s legacy, and, while it is certainly okay to be sad, the best gift we can give anyone we are in a relationship with is the gift of the story of life.  It is a gift that is wrapped in the love that we had for that person, and the deeper the love for the person, the more beautiful the wrapping. 

This Memorial Day my challenge to you is pretty simple: What can you do to celebrate life? What can you do this Memorial Day that would give your family a story to tell?