Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Touched by An Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

– Maya Angelou

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I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend.  For many it meant an extended visit with friends and family or at the very least another day away from work. But I just don’t like Memorial Day very much.  I think the parades and flag-waving and grave decorating are great, honestly, but I’d rather not see all those white crosses and stars-of-david.  I’d rather not read article after article about sacrifice and loss.

Call me squeamish, unpatriotic, weak…  It’s all true.  I am squeamish when it comes to seeing boys barely out of high school with their arms and legs blown off, with their bodies disfigured and their minds scarred and their futures questionable at best.  And I feel very unpatriotic when I see our government lying to its people, usurping power, perverting every ideal this nation originally stood for.  And I am weak.  I am tired and frayed and more heartsick than words can say. 

In every marker and memorial I see my grandfather, who helped liberate Auschwitz but would never bring himself to talk about it.  I see a man who, at eighty, still screamed in his sleep from dreams about what he saw and did in Italy and Germany.  I see a man who lost part of his hand in Korea; one who lost his best friend in Vietnam and never forgave himself for “letting him die”; another who will never use his right arm again and will walk with a limp for the rest of his life.  I hear it in a voice talking about her son and how she wishes she could have been with him in his last moments.  I feel it in a set of dog tags.

So wave your flags and enjoy your parades and forgive me if I would rather lose myself in work or change the channel or put away the newspaper.

Some are still trying to forget.

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