Memorial Day. A designated Federal holiday, the name signifies a specific day set aside annually to memorialize and honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Earliest observances of the day pre-date the Civil War.
In my younger years, I recall hearing the day referred to as “Decoration Day.” That was understood to mean my relatives were headed to the cemetery to decorate graves with flowers and flags … and occasionally, a sprinkling of tears. I don’t recall the decorations being placed exclusively on graves of military deceased, though I admit, I probably wasn’t paying close attention.
With her 92nd birthday approaching (the end of August), my mother Ruthe must contemplate the final days (or years, we hope) of her incredible life on this planet. I’ve shared her stories more than a dozen times in this space, among them Everybody’s Fine, The Tale of Bobbie Pringle (in 2 parts), and Safe In His Arms. I’ve also posted poems where she was my subject: Mother of Mine, Touchstone. Along life’s journey, she has embraced numerous adventures, taken surprising risks and absorbed monumental losses. What a blessing she has been to me (and her other offspring)!
The photo above was taken a couple weeks ago. She needed groceries and I was in town, so we drove to the nearby SuperCenter. Because she lacks the stamina she once had, I suggested she try the motorized shopping cart. I’ve never used one of these devices … nor had she until that day! (Keep in mind, she’s almost totally blind, with only a sliver of cloudy light squeezing into the uppermost corner of her left eye.) Still, I figured the electric cart was worth trying, since I worried her knees might give way during our trek through the massive store.
As things turned out, we managed to collect her groceries without inflicting excess damage to the cart or any merchandise lining the aisles … and thankfully, no customers were permanently injured during this endeavor! When she first grasped the forward/reverse lever, the cart unexpectedly shot forward, leaving me far behind. I caught up quickly and decided to set my hand to the “wheel” to control the cart’s speed and direction. It was my chance to walk beside her, guiding her to the k-cups, the oatmeal and her other important purchases. Making our way (slowly) around the store, she depended on my guidance, but strange as it might seem, she was leading the way … as she always has! Continue reading “Leading The Way”→
Our culture reveres survivors … and rightly so! The stories of concentration camp and holocaust survivors so stir our emotions, we often see these stories turned into movies. The Diary of Anne Frank was produced multiple times. I’m surprised The Hiding Place (from 1975) hasn’t been remade. In 2014, Unbroken was produced and directed by actress Angelina Jolie who deemed the survivor story of Louis Zamperini compelling.
Cancer survivors have their unique stories. Sexual assault survivors reveal horrific tales of abuse and torture. Given the admiration we accord survivors today, marketers exploit our curiosity by producing numerous movies, games and television series with a survival theme. (I must confess my fascination with Alone, now in its third season on the History Channel.) Continue reading “Survivors All”→
Here’s a word that doesn’t get much use these days: Poetaster. One of the memorable ways to define this word – as well as to remember its pronunciation – is to take the word Poet, marry to it the last two syllables of disaster, and you have Poetaster.
A Poetaster is simply “an inferior poet, a writer of indifferent verse.” There’s some latitude in the word I think. A Poetaster might be someone who fancies himself (or herself) a fine poet because of a perceived ability to witness flowery and inane rhetoric flowing from his or her pen. By definition, what flows from a poetaster‘s pen is insipid, even foolish. Hence, my personal mnemonic, explained in the first paragraph. Continue reading “Supreme Poetaster”→
When we attended church yesterday, one of the first items presented to the attendees was a statement from our elders concerning last week’s Supreme Court decision redefining marriage. This was an important and necessary statement. (I’ve captured an image of the statement below.)
After the statement was read by an elder, the audience stood up and applauded … loudly and long. As with our family, people who have chosen to attend this church want to be reassured that the church stands firmly on the Word of God – no matter what the uncertainties of the culture. The applause clearly reflected the congregation’s relief that there’d be no wavering from our commitment to Scripture. Continue reading “Ultimate Authority”→
Everyone needs compassion A love that’s never failing Let mercy fall on me Everyone needs forgiveness The kindness of a Savior The hope of nations
The lyrics above are the first stanza to a song written by award-winning lyricist and contemporary Christian vocalist Laura Story. The song is titled Mighty To Save.Listening today to the statements of family members in South Carolina addressing the young man who murdered their loved ones during a Wednesday evening Bible study, I heard these people express willing forgiveness for the murderer and a steadfast refusal to be consumed with the kind of hate the perpetrator’s deed demonstrated. Continue reading “Mighty To Save”→
Posting Monday about the death of Elisabeth Elliot, I used a couple pictures of her … one was a familiar publicity photo and the other was a pen-and-ink sketch used on her website. In the World Magazine tribute noting Elliot’s death, they used the photo below. A follow-up post noted that some readers of World had expressed their dismay, wishing instead that the magazine had attached a more flattering picture, an image reflecting her youth and beauty.
In response to its readers, World posted another photo of Elliot in her youth alongside the more current photo. World writer Mickey McLean titled his piece “Old and beautiful,” noting her “smile and twinkling blue eyes” reflected her “joy of living as a child of God.” I am in complete agreement! Continue reading “An Elisabeth Elliot Smile”→
Back in April, I posted (here) about the physical transformation former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner was undergoing in order to stake his claim to be a woman. At the time of that post, I intended never again to bring up this subject. However, when I heard the announcement today that ESPN will honor Jenner on July 15 by giving him the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, I found myself unable to hold back.
Allow me to cover a few things right from the get-go. Bruce Jenner is not now – nor will he ever be – a woman! He may have had his body surgically mutilated and redesigned in order to have the physical appearance of a woman … but that doesn’t make him a woman. He may take hormones to soften his features and raise his voice … but that doesn’t make him a woman. He may wear feminine garments and own a houseful of girlie-girl items … but that doesn’t make him a woman either! No matter what he chooses to believe, no matter what he tells himself to abet his delusion, he will always … always … ALWAYS be a man. Continue reading “Genuine Courage”→
A wise man might say Laughter is the best medicine, but long ago, I learned there is an appropriate time for laughter. Likewise, I learned there were certain occasions that called for me to keep my big mouth shut. (Thankfully, this crucial lesson came early in my marriage.) Discretion … exercising good judgment in delicate situations. In Job Chapter 30, we find Job still stuck in the doldrums and his first sentence is a complaint: But now they laugh at me.
At the end of chapter 29 (see last Sunday’s post), Job was recalling his former status and how he’d helped people, ministering to their needs. By the conclusion of the chapter, he’s hasn’t stopped the suffering and he hasn’t regained equilibrium, but recalling the good he’d done seems to have lifted his spirits … if only a bit. Continue reading “Mourning Song”→