I rarely stop to take holidays (and Greg Tacher has aptly pointed out this is NOT a strength…) and so I tend to be unaware of the smell of roses. But I worked hard (!) ahead of time to plan to truly, really take today off. Lynne and I had breakfast in the kitchen nook this morning while our kids slumbered like seals on the beach.
I couldn’t get over how quiet the city world was this Memorial Day. No cars, no trucks, no FedEx rumbling down the street twice a day. No remodeling or construction noises in the neighborhood. No one out jogging. Soothing, strengthening serenity is the effect I’m trying to describe, and I realize I want more of that. While some people need to get out more, clearly I need to get away more. I will try.
Last night was Lakeside’s senior prom and the parents had their own interesting “party” up on campus while the kids were chaperoned. We had dinner together and saw a great video featuring interviews with the Lakeside seniors, who communicated poignantly and purposefully about their experiences and their dreams.
It occurred to me, listening to some of their grateful comments, just how much has gone into their education. I don’t mean money and worry. I mean the generations of painstaking conflict, discovery, and building that ancestors offered to make modern, relatively war-free societies even possible. Our children live in a sin-stained world, but still one amazingly blessed relative to most of times past. If they had been born in 650 A.D. in the province of Gaul, tied as a serf to backbreaking work, it’s doubtful they would enjoy the level of blessing we take for granted today and in this country. We enjoy today what many have slaved, even fought and died for.
Spiritually then, but also historically and holistically, “freely we have received.” With awe and gratitude in our hearts, may we keep the memory and gifts of soldiers and statesmen, farmers and scientists, teachers and storytellers, mothers and fathers fresh on our minds as we resolve to be those who “freely give.”