Monday, May 26, 2014

Why I Didn’t Post a Facebook Message about Memorial Day


I tried. 

Half a dozen times throughout the day I tried to post something true and honest and . . . well, somehow meaningful. Most everyone else on Facebook and Twitter seemed to be able to do it, with well-thought-out and sincere words, or a moving photo, or a heart-felt poem or quote. Sometimes a prayer.

I thought they were all great—and true and honest and meaningful.

But I just sat here working at my desk, stymied.

It's like when I go to stand with or send a note to someone who has suffered a loss or tragedy. I really, really don’t know what to say. What will be meaningful? I wonder. What will make a difference?

So I simply touch their arm or hold their hand or, in the case of a note, write I'm sorry. I hope they know—by those simple actions and the fact that I "showed up"—that I care. Do most people struggle with the same thing? Yes, I think so.

But this? The enormity of the sacrifice made by those who serve renders me stupidly mute. I can't even keep it together when veterans pass by in a parade, showing their own pride in serving their country and honoring those who have lost their lives. 

It's not just respect and it's not pity; it's gratitude down to my toes.

But at least today I can do this: To all those servicemen and servicewomen who have served and protected us and our freedom—all with sacrifice and some with their lives—here is my “touch,” my “hand,” my “thank you.” My showing up just a little bit.

It’s not enough; I know that. It’s not enough for your families and comrades, either. But it’s what I do when I don't know what else to do.

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