I noticed something over Memorial Day weekend I hadn’t noticed before. There seems to be a number of folks who are offended when people use the word “happy” in front of Memorial Day. The justification is that this day is a day of somber remembrance of the countless lives that have been lost and therefore nothing happy about it.
I have to respectfully disagree. I think this gives me every reason to be happy. It’s the same reason I could be filled with joy this past weekend while running through a battlefield where 32,000 lives were lost over 150 years ago. When I reflect on how someone else’s pain and incredible sacrifice made possible the moments of beauty and life of freedom I have the opportunity to enjoy today, then what else can I be but happy and eternally grateful?
As many of you know, I write a lot about redemption and how beauty and pain are often woven together. Over the years, I’ve grown to embrace this aspect of life. We can’t compartmentalize life. I hate that there’s pain. I hate that there’s death. I hate that loved ones in our lives are taken away too soon. I hate that kids grow up without parents or parents must grieve the loss of their son or daughter. Those are just a handful of the many reasons I should not be happy.
And yet, even with all the pain and all the loss, I am compelled to seek out the beauty, to dig it up like treasure, to grab hold of it and refuse to let go.
I wasn’t planning on turning this post into a post about Christ but that seems to be where my heart is going right now. I think this is why Christians can look at Good Friday and the cross and rejoice and not despair…because the sacrifice of One, the unthinkable pain inflicted on One, has made freedom possible and accessible for all. How can I not be happy? How can I not cling to this beauty?
Jesus preached a way of life that sounded off the wall crazy to people who heard him speak. From the Sermon on the Mount to the thief next to him on the cross, He preached a counter-culture message. He came and he turned the world and our perspectives upside down.
Not sure how to end this post other than to say, I will continue to look for the beauty hidden beyond the pain and the suffering of this world. I will look for it. I will grab hold of it because in doing so I know I will find a beauty that will never die. I will find a beauty that will continue to bring joy and hope and peace to my heart… despite the countless reasons telling me this can’t be.
“I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else.” Colossians 2: 2-3 Message