We are all so heartbreakingly small. We feel like we are the center of the world because we see the world through only one set of eyes and that set takes on epic proportions. I know when I am really happy; when there is a bounce in my step and I feel light, I cannot believe how unhappy or indifferent the people around me appear to be about life. Just like when we were newlyweds we couldn’t figure out why so many people thought our commitment was such a big deal and staying married for a long time would be a real achievement, of course, we thought, you stay married, isn’t marriage fun?
Or when I am very sad, brought low by newsreels, news of the congregation, or the newsfeed from my family. When things aren’t going right or after some tragedy when it seems like things will never be the same again, how come so many people are oblivious to the pain all around them? Can’t they see that I am broken?
Of course they don’t because I only appear to be the center of it all to me.
Remembrance day is when we recall and thank those who have fought in the various wars that have taken place. For me it is a time when I remember how absurdly small a life can be. Think of the outrageous numbers of dead in the two “Great” Wars. Think of all the parents with broken hearts, all the widows not yet 25 years old. Think of all the boys who will never go to school, raise kids, walk daughters down aisles or teach their sons how to be fathers and men. Millions upon millions of lives shockingly stopped mid-sentence.
Imagine the work and the pride and the joy in building homes and businesses and cute little downtowns. Imagine the passion that drives people to make the places they live beautiful, the shutters, the doors, the flowers, the curtains, the clean swept streets, the careful picked out streetlights, the work not just of a single lifetime but of generations who waited and watched the trees grow…evaporated, eviscerated, ruined, in seconds. Our lives are so small sometimes.
So we huddle up with family, we branch out through social media, we find ways to convince ourselves we exist and that we matter and that our lives aren’t so small and they aren’t so fragile. It makes sense.
Perhaps, all our striving to be made known and made real is caused by our innate understanding that we aren’t as small as war can make us feel. Many of us have forgotten that in truth we are loved by one whose love gives meaning and purpose. Scripture tells us that even the hairs on our head are numbered, they are counted by the king of the universe the creator of all (Luke 12:7). It also tells us that each and every one of us is made in his image (Gen. 1:27). Few of us can take real solace in this knowledge, especially on a day like Remembrance Day. Just as few of us can take refuge in the fact that He has searched us and known us (Psalm 139). I’m working on it, and would love to have some company in doing so.