As I sat this afternoon working on how best to honor a holiday like Memorial day I thought of how today is a day to celebrate the memory of others. It brought me to the question of why memory is so important. I once read a quote that we exist only through our relationships with others and when I think back to all the relationships in my life, those relationships, so many now just memories, truly created who I am today.
While I may not have been on a physical battlefield amidst war, I have had the honor of meeting along the way some of the most amazing warriors in my life. While at the time I may not have identified them all as heroes, I realize now, looking back, that each relationship, big or small heralded my ability to be the person I am today. It’s also not beyond me to say that though the heroes I at the time thought were villains in my own emotional battles have moved me forward on my own path to seek, to understand, to know myself better – the good and the bad.
I also know that the world I have created for myself was also not done without heroes that fought for me that I never even had the opportunity to meet. Warriors who sacrificed their lives so that I may live the one I am enacting today. Heroes who have survived an actual war and had to watch as their fellow comrades fell in front of them. To think that there are men and women out there who at this very moment in each and every year of my life have been fighting a battle that I haven’t even seen or always known but has had a direct effect on where I live and how I am able to live.
It truly puts how I choose to live today and going forward in perspective. Days like today are days to honor memory, to honor and reflect on all the heroes, near and far, in our lives. The hidden champions that fight battles for us that we don’t even know and who are willing to truly be a sacrifice lends me to think I have but one choice. The choice to take and use this precious life that I have been given and afforded by so many others to use for good. To not waste a moment on idle gossip or dreaming, to not sour my words , my thoughts or my actions but to use this moment while I am free to do good, to better the world, to follow my heart, to run after my dreams because I have been gifted the freedom to do that.
As Gregory David Roberts once said “We are always free – free to hate or forgive, free to destroy or to love. It may not sound like much but that freedom is a universe of possibility and the choice you make between hating and forgiving can become the story of your life.” Let us take the time now to honor those near and far, those we’ve known and those we have yet to meet who are clearing the path so that we may walk, bending down on their knees so that we may stand on their shoulders, falling so that we may keep moving, fighting so that we may know peace….