Memorial Day. A day to remember those we have lost. A day to honor those who have served to protect the freedom we often take for granted.
We line up along parade routes with family and friends. Children waiting in anticipation of candy being tossed in their direction. Horses, tractors, local businesses and politicians pass…
The Police come along with sirens bleating….all the little boys stand in awe! I have a special place in my heart for Policemen. They give of themselves daily, often with little or no thanks from those they serve and protect. My own brother is an Officer, I couldn’t be more proud of him!
A little further down come the Firemen riding in the shiny red fire truck. Another group of selfless souls, constantly ready to rescue when needed.
And then, the trailer bed adorned with Red, White and Blue comes along.
Veterans seated on metal folding chairs, badges earned for acts of bravery beyond what we could ever know, pinned to their chest. Most of these brave men and woman are seated, the years have taken a toll on their bodies and they can no longer walk a parade route. Those who are able, march in front carrying the Flag….the very symbol of our freedom.
As I watch these brave souls pass by, I see pride gleaming in their eyes. They still believe in something bigger than themselves. Freedom still pulses through their veins.
I get choked up….every single time…
I find myself trying to imagine what images lie beneath their gaze. When they look out at my generation what do they see?
Do they see a people who will carry on what they offered their lives for?
Those who will stand for what is right no matter the cost?
Those who will give voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves?
Those who will look injustice in the face and say “Not on my watch”?
Or do they look out from their seat and feel the stabbing pain of disappointment as they gaze across my generation?
We say we are American, we are free….but we often don’t have the gumption to back that with anything we are passionate about.
American freedom has become something of a birthright or a luck of the draw.
It is often easier for us for do as everyone else is doing, to say what everyone else is saying. When questioned by someone who would dare to think outside of this social box, we are heard saying “What can I do about it? It’s just how it is”.
Accumulating a comfortable life has become our top priority. If we stay busy enough then we won’t have time or energy to think about the steps we are taking away from the banner of freedom that we waive.
Standing up for what we believe in could cause discomfort, possibly isolate us from our social circle, or inconvenience our American way of life.
What’s even more heartbreaking is when those who like me, claim to live a life of Freedom by following Christ and yet we remain nicely boxed in by the fears that we hold.
How we can we claim freedom if we live boxed in by fear?
Fears don’t have to look like much on the surface in order keep us chained to them. Convincing ourselves that it is acceptable to be less than we were created to be is one of Fear’s greatest victories. Small fears, if held onto long enough, have the potential to become great.
I have stated previously that I am on a mission to uproot fear in my life. I have become vigilant in my evaluation of where fear has taken root in me personally. These lies I have decided to believe as truth are woven into places I never expected. I am amazed at how fear plays out in my daily life.
Exercise…what if I do too much and then I hurt myself again? I don’t want to re-injure anything so maybe it’s best to not push myself to the next level. Staying where I am will ensure that I never move forward, but the fear of hurting myself pulls at me, compelling me to stay in this same place.
Following a dream…who am I to start something new? So many people have better ideas than I do. They have already done what I was thinking of doing and I don’t want to look foolish starting now. I will just mention my idea now and then, not letting it go, but just not doing anything with it either. Keeping the dream alive in my mind is good enough for me, that way I won’t look stupid if I fail.
I see an injustice happening around me, if I stand up for what is right I may be challenged in what I believe. Will I even know what to say? It is easier to look the other way, to not speak against this injustice…to pretend it never happened will be the most comfortable choice. Remaining ignorant is the preferred solution.
Or maybe you find it difficult to engage someone else’s pain… You know that your friend is hurting. The pain on their face is evident, the cry coming from their soul, brokenness is all around them. We see it, we just don’t know what to say or do. If you say the wrong thing, then that will cause them even greater pain. Our minds cannot comprehend their struggle so how can we help in any way? It is better if a prayer is just spoken from a distance. God hears our prayer and will answer it. Here is the problem…what if we are the answer to that prayer? What if reaching past our level of comfort and reaching in to engage another’s pain is the exact answer to their prayer?
We can take this list to infinite possibilities, these are just a few in a very long line of ugly fears. Woven neatly into our daily lives, fear can become our truth.
I am FREEDOM’S person!
I have a heritage of courage and bravery. I have been freed twice…once by men on battlefields far away ensuring that myself and my children live in the safety of this “Land of the Free”…and once by a Savior that came to offer me freedom by believing in and following Him.
How is it then that Freedom’s People have been led by fear?
How is it that I can allow fear any room in my life?
I cannot! I must not!
American is who we are! Our founding Father’s started this great nation believing in my freedom. They courageously stood for what they believed in. I am certain that they felt fear…they just never gave it any room in their lives. You cannot posses fear and faith…it is one or the other.
I am also a Christ Follower. A Christian. One who has been set free. Galatians 5:1 states that “It is for freedom, that he set us free”..I just have to chose to live this out.
This question is one I ask myself repeatedly….
What would my life look like if I never gave fear a place in it?
What would our community, our nation, our world look like if fear had no place?
Would there be enough food for all, with clean water to drink?
Would children roaming streets find a home?
Would the corruption that has infiltrated our government be stopped?
Would sex trafficking still thrive?
Would ISIS still have it’s hold?
Would the hurting still feel alone?
Would the outcasts and broken, looking in from the outside find a place to belong?
Would there be cures for incurable diseases?
Would there be a song to lift a broken heart, reach a wounded soul, offering peace and hope?
Would there be a book written with words strung together to offer life giving perspective?
Would mainstream culture become a stream of life?
Not all have stood by doing nothing. There are the brave among us, standing up for what is right. Putting personal comfort and gain aside. These are not the majority, sadly, they have become the minority.
Unraveling fears’ grip will be the unravelling of all that is wrong. It begins with me….it begins with you..together we step into Freedom’s identity.
This Memorial Day when the tractor bed holding our Brave passes us by, may the Veteran’s gaze see Freedom’s people waking to take a stand for what they believe in once again!