Death is a part of our lives that can be difficult to grasp when someone dies, especially if they are young and have a full life yet to live. As we celebrate Memorial Day, it occurs to me that most of the soldiers that died for our country were probably under the age of thirty - some even younger than twenty. We don’t think about that fact unless we personally know someone who died in combat. I have deep respect and admiration for any young person who signs up to be part of the military, especially in these days where soldiers now do numerous tours in the Middle East early in their military career.
It’s always shocking when a young person dies. We are forced to put life into perspective when we are faced with its fragility.
My daughter and her husband lost a dear friend yesterday. He and his wife and young son were at their wedding less than two weeks ago. We celebrated the wife’s newly discovered pregnancy as she styled everyone’s hair in the bridal party. He went to take a nap yesterday, while they vacationed, and never woke up.
A little over a month ago, one of my cousins lost her 32 year old son. He dropped over in the parking lot of his workplace. How do you wrap your head around that as a parent? How many parents of soldiers have had to come to grips with the senseless loss of their children?
We are not only honoring the soldiers who died fighting for our country, but also the families they left behind who still struggle with their absence. And what about those who didn’t die in the heat of the battle? We owe them our greatest respect, too. They weren’t afraid to die for their country.
Rick and I went to see the movie “Heaven is For Real”. Wow! What a touching movie. It’s a true story of a little boy who had an out-of-body experience and says he visited heaven. If I didn’t believe in heaven, I don’t know how I’d face the world we live in. Death doesn’t seem as daunting when you know what’s ahead. That is my hope, my sanity when I see death around me. I highly recommend you see this movie.
It’s difficult for us to accept death when we lose our loved ones. We get so attached to one another. In God’s eyes, though, this life on Earth is temporary. James 4:14 tells us, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Our home is with God. We have eternity to spend there with those who have gone before us and will come after us.
I thank God for His promise of heaven. It’s what gets me through this life, knowing what we have to look forward to. We will have to deal with death until we face it ourselves. It’s God’s way of reminding us that we need to stay focused on Him. We need to keep our priorities in order. We need to appreciate every day we have and live life reaching out to others, not just feeding our selfish desires. Thank God for all the selfless soldiers who put their country ahead of their own lives. Who knows what our country would look like had it not been for them.