Posted by Moira Ahearne Parkinson

Welcome to Mid-Week E-Lift —

a Message in the Midst of a Busy Week

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13″

LISTEN TO:   Emmylou Harris, “All My Tears”

As a little girl, I remember my mother’s preparations for Memorial Day.  When we were very young, it meant trips down to Dayton, OH, to visit the graves of grandparents and Uncle Joe, who died in World War II.  Later, after my brothers’ deaths, we would visit Holy Cross Cemetery where they were interred.  Mom would bring peonies from the backyard and her gardening tools.  She carefully trimmed the grass around the tombstones.  She sweep away the dead leaves.  She washed and scrubbed the stones until all the lettering was was again clear. I watched her as she stood in silence and prayed. Memorial Day always began with visits to the family graves.

The original intent of Memorial Day was to honor fallen Civil War soldiers, extended in the 20th century to honor all fallen American soldiers.  For some, like my mother, the day expanded to include all loved ones.  For others, the Day holds very little meaning except that it’s a three-day holiday, considered the unofficial start of summer, with cookouts and bbq’s gathering family and friends.  It is good for us to remember in love and gratitude the fallen dead, but then to bring their memory to the family and community gatherings, where we celebrate the continuation of life, all gathered in the loving arms of God.

Whatever Memorial Day means to you, it is a reminder that honoring the sacrifices and the memory of those who have gone before us is a precious act.   Our tears at their loss remind us that we are not invincible.  The loss of a loved one, the loss of a young solider killed in combat, should challenge us to examine our lives;  are we living with  sacrifice, purpose, imagination, service and care? In acknowledging our love and gratitude, we make a conscious choice — to live in such a way to honor God, to follow Jesus, and to honor the best in the lives of  our soldiers and those we love. The presence of death spurs us to put pettiness aside,  to attend to unfinished business, and make our mark, wherever God has placed us.  Not all of us are called to be soldiers, or to die in combat.  But we can give our lives over to compassion and kindness everyday, and touch someone’s life for the better.

This past Monday, May 20, 18 year old Zach Sobiech died.  He had been battling a rare cancer for several years.  He was an inspiration for in his short life, and set out to make people happy through his music.  His song, “Clouds”, went viral on youtube, garnering over 3.4 million hits and raising donations for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.  “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living” was Zach’s message.  Let us remember this, and blessed we shall be if we put it into practice.

PRAY:  As you listen to Zach, thank God for the gift of life. Ask God to make you a blessing, to live consciously — to lift people up —  like those who gave their lives with the understanding to make a difference.
“Clouds”  by Zach Sobiech