“Always have old memories, and young hopes.”~ Arsene Houssaye (1815-1896) French novelist and poet
This past weekend was one of memories and remembering. The children of friends graduated and are now moving into their next phase of life: some are going to college, some are entering the military, and some are starting their career. Old photos at graduation parties recounted their days growing up, and fond memories and laughter were shared by all. It was also a somber time of remembering this weekend too, as it was Memorial Day, when we honor all the lives given in exchange for our freedom. Instead of graduation parties we attend memorial services, where memories are shared about those young men and women who also took their next step, not into college or a career, but into the gates of heaven.
As I stood in our local cemetery this morning for our memorial service to honor our fallen, I was so grateful that the rain held and that we did not have to move into a local church. It would just not be the same; somehow the reality of the sacrifice is more deeply felt when surrounded by the headstones of those who gave all. It was good to have a crowd of all ages, many of whom were our recent high school graduates. It is so important that our youth see, know, and remember what honor, duty and sacrifice look like.
Memories are important, as they allow us to connect our past to our present, and guide us in our future. Some are, like this past weekend, filled with excitement and joy, while others are bittersweet because of the future that never was. I pray that the future of our graduates is filled with all kinds of good things, and that their joyous memories temper any future sorrow. May they gain wisdom and not just knowledge, may they learn strength of character and not just strength of mind and body, and may they understand that integrity and honor are not something to be learned, but something to be chosen. May they understand that humility is not the same as humiliation, and stand up for themselves and others when needed. May they not be discouraged by those who betray them, but seek out those who are willing to help make their path straight, including their Creator. And finally, may they always be blessed so that they can become a blessing, as it is in the giving of self that truly makes us whole.
“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1963) a Dutch Christian who was imprisoned in a concentration camp due to her helping Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during WWII