My daughter never misses a beat. The other day she asked me what the difference between Memorial Day & Veterans Day was. She has an uncle who is currently serving and she takes every opportunity she can to honor him for that. She’s 6 and yet she can understand what a major sacrifice the decision to go into the military is. I am proud of her for her sensitivity and her awareness. I was admittedly, a little bit scared to answer the question. She had such a valiant picture of the American Soldier, I was afraid to burst the bubble she had made and tell her that some of them die. Little children shouldn’t have to know things like that. Their naive bubbles shouldn’t have to experience hurt or loss, or for that matter, reality. She would panic every time she knew her Uncle Joel was going back to “work.” He is currently living out-of-state while his family is here because he is close to being out of the service and he is trying to wrap things up. I can’t imagine what would go through her head every time we told her he was heading back to “work” after a long weekend visit. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t worth the extra stress that would be on her little heart all of the time. I kept trying to tell myself that this was the best parenting decision for her, but I couldn’t ever really make peace with that.
I have experienced many instances of the “horrified, bad parenting” glare. I honestly try hard to be the mom that gets all into the Easter Bunny and Santa. I went to great lengths to print out the multi-page letter from the tooth fairy and lie about the F-word when Siri introduced it to my 6-year-old. (“Call Elzie Faulkner, Cell” clearly sounds like, Elzie, go **** yourself.” And yes the best response you could have given Siri, was definitely, “Now that isn’t very nice!” Made it near impossible to play it off as if nothing had happened). Yes, it would have been easier to just ignore it and keep going but if you know my daughter, you know she doesn’t miss a thing. There was no was I was getting out of this one. As awkward of a situation as that was, it still didn’t feel right to lie. It didn’t feel right to lie about the Easter Bunny or Santa and honestly, I am exhausted about the tooth fairy. Whoever came up with the little “chart” she leaves each time, to show you how many teeth you have lost deserves to be pelted with tomatoes. I ALWAYS mark at least one of the teeth off incorrectly and as to be expected, my 6-year-old catches it every time. It isn’t worth it. Most of all, it didn’t feel right to leave her thinking that this was a happy holiday where we BBQ and celebrate how awesome our country is.
The truth of the matter is, we are to be humbling ourselves on Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember the soldiers that aren’t here anymore, because of us. To acknowledge the fact that these men and women didn’t jump in front of a bullet in a split second to save someone elses life, they CHOSE to join an organization that would train them rigorously and require a lot of them. That would most-likely, put them in harm’s way, to save our self-centered lives, & continue living in the manner we are used to. The sacrifice is more than just the fact that they died, it’s that they chose to enter into the possibility that they would die. These soldiers believed in our country so much that they saw the bigger picture and wanted to give their life for their friends (John 15:13).
Let’s not forget, these soldiers could have died doing the work that GOD INSTRUCTED ALL OF US to do for others, yet we don’t make the time. Psalm 82:3-4 says:
“Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless;
deliver them from the grasp of evil people.”
We can all sit here and complain about how we need to “bring home troops” and how this is unnecessary fighting. How we waste all this money and human lives going to fight other’s battles. I hate to hear these things. What makes us so much better than other? Why do we deserve to protect yourself with our resources instead of going out into the messed up world and helping the ones who can’t help themselves? God has given us ALL this responsibility. He has told us ALL to give justice to the poor and orphaned, to uphold other’s rights, to rescue theses people from evil. Our call to do so does not disappear once we decide we will not serve the world we live on. We do not excuse ourselves from the responsibility because we, “will just let other’s do it. Galatians 5:13 says,
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.
But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.
Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”
Again, here we are being instructed by God to put aside OUR needs to benefit the needs of others, simply because we love them. That is just what these soldiers do.
So what was the answer I gave my daughter earlier this week? Just like with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus & the tooth fairy, I told her the truth. That we honor the people who died doing the work we have been charged to do. Saving innocent people’s lives. Using the resources GOD has blessed us with, to make a difference in other countries. We talked about some of the other places in the world and what it was like to live there. How the terrorist groups have taken over and tormented the people who live in their own cities. How it’s important to understand that the people who live under these dictators rule are WORSE OFF than we are here. Whether it’s Europe, Africa, Asia, or even here at home in the US, there are people with no one to fight for them and need help. The men and women who enter our military understand this and are motivated BY GOD to keep fighting with it doesn’t make sense to. To keep sacrificing rather than save them. Because of this, we do not celebrate Memorial Day, we HONOR it. We spend time remembering theses people who have left holes in families to be obedient to the Lord and to help people they will never see otherwise. To make this holiday about BBQ’s and being “proud to be an American” is a disgrace to what these men & women who ae no longer here, have done.
I know that you may get some “horrified stares,” but I encourage you to do the same with your kids. Tell them the truth, about it all. We are still having a BBQ and we still pretend Santa is coming. The tooth fairy is still leaving her $ under her pillow. She just knows the difference between using her imagination and what the truth really is. She knows what things are REALLY about and her knowledge of the truth in all of these situations makes her the caring, loving, and merciful person she is today.
To all of the families who have lost a soldier, I commend you. I pray for you and I hurt for you. Your sacrifices have not gone unnoticed. I am humbled at the feet of not just the soldiers, but at your feet as well. You allow the comfort of other’s to be put before your own and that is amazing.