Although the last Monday in May has long been designated in the USA to decorate graves of veterans who lost their lives in battle, it can evoke a lot of emotion as many go to cemeteries to honor their military and non-military loved ones with flowers, flags and other special tokens this weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with you—no matter how you choose to celebrate Memorial Day this year.
It can certainly change how you view this holiday, depending on what’s going on in your life. As a young girl, I recall making hundreds of Memorial Day Baskets for our family greenhouse business for people to set out on their loved ones’ graves. I can also remember exciting Memorial Day parades. Now, I can see why not everyone feels like a parade, a cookout, or day with family and friends at the lake. It may still be too painful for some to visit a grave, while others need to go almost every week for a while.
I visited my first husband’s grave today to place some new flowers on it. As I stood looking at his headstone, I wondered what he’s been doing for 27 years in glory. So many years have gone by- though compared to eternity perhaps just a minute. I have since remarried and share life with another very good man—and have been for more years than I was married to Steve. (Before he died, he told me I would marry a good man, and he was right.) We have grand children and even a couple of great grandkids that Steve never got to meet. Two of his kids are now older than he was when he died. Every Memorial Day since he has left, has been a different experience…and that’s OK.
My grandparents and great grandparents, along with others, are buried at this same cemetery. There is also a memorial to veterans nearby. Each headstone represents someone’s daughter, son, husband, wife, baby, friend…Some graves are highly decorated and some may not have anyone alive who remembers them. Every single one is a reminder of how short this life is and how permanent eternity is.
I’m fully aware that every single person reading this, is experiencing something unique this Memorial Day. No matter what you are going through, it will not always be the same as this year. Even though a whole life ahead may seem incredibly long without your loved one, it is shorter than you think. Perhaps the most important way to deal with Memorial Day, is to make sure you are ready for eternity with the Lord. You never know what will happen before next year.
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14
“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:53-55