I’ve never been much of a beach goer. Even while stationed on Guam for two tours, surrounded by ocean, I probably spent maybe two weeks altogether walking in the sand looking for sea shells. I was twenty and I was thirty. But I have to say that this time, at this time of my life, the waves were literally washing over my feet and taking my stress back out into the depths of the ocean along with the little sea urchins that live in it.
I had a bit of a meltdown. In that moment, I wanted my hero, my husband, to experience that ocean music instead of a chaotic houseful of children. I wanted my emotionally tortured daughter to experience that peace. I wanted my incarcerated son to experience that freedom. I wanted my sheltered daughter-in-law and my grandchildren to experience that new wonder. I wanted my hard working son, daughter, son and daughters-in-law to have a forever vacation, enough money in the bank to say let’s build a hot tub garden and spend a month on the beach collecting sand dollars, sea shells and nautical trinkets to decorate it with. I wanted my sisters and brothers whether biological, spiritual, or in friendship to experience the great glory of God’s creation that is so much more than tedium, hardship and heartbreak we all experience day to day. Life is hard.
And freedom is not free. Memorial Day weekend is here. The heaviness I felt in my chest just a few days ago while watching the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and seeing the thousands of granite reminders of soldiers who fought for our freedom of religion, freedom from oppression of government, wasn’t about THEN, it was about NOW. We are NOW at war for the same freedom and it is somehow different when you can feel it happening in the present time than to look at it as history.
Freedom of religion is not free but freedom to love your God is up to you. You can choose to stand for your faith and possibly be martyred for that choice. Standing in the awesome grandeur of HIS creation—I know that I could make no other choice. I chose to wear the uniform and would do so again. And I choose my God.