There have only been a few Memorial Days since my Dad passed away. And they mean a lot more to me now. God answered our prayers so many times and returned him home from wars or military actions unharmed.
I was raised seeing lots of parades and military air shows with troops marching in formation. It was a reminder that my freedom was not free. But that this wonderful country I lived in was made free by the strength of the force of men and women in the military, and by the blood shed by past soldiers.
Until I was made aware of the oppression of people in other parts of the world, I took for granted that I was born to parents who loved me, provided for me, in a country where education was free and for everyone, and where I could choose to be whatever I was willing to put the work into becoming. Where I could marry who I wanted to and have children as I wanted to.
In the Bible, there is a Hebrew word “zakar”.
It means “to remember, to recall, or call to mind in an active commemoration. It means to bring the event remembered to the forefront of your mind and focus intently on it. It means to see it clearly and appreciate the significance on yourself, your life and potentially the world.
That expanded meaning of remember challenges me. Why is it I can remember toothpaste or cereal jingles from my childhood, but I can’t remember significant events that impacted my life? Or conversations that steered me towards a better path, or kept me from bad decisions? Or answers to so many prayers uttered in moments of trouble or despair?
The Israelites would often set up a stone or pile of stones to commemorate significant events. I can do the same with a piece of art, or jewelry, a song, poem or picture. I can place things on my desk or in my home or yard so that when someone comments on it, I can tell the reason for its significance.
What do you need to remember, commemorate? How will you do it?