The Gift of Another “Decoration” Day

When I was young and celebrating Decoration Day, I never realized the gift I had been given. School had just ended, but our high school band would still play on Decoration Day. We would march to the cemetery from the high school to participate in the Day’s activities. It was hot, and we complained a lot. But when we entered the cemetery we knew reverence was expected of us. We knew the flags represented special people from our community who had ” gone to war.” It never occurred to me that one day I would proudly wear the uniform of the United States Navy. I left my first teaching job in 1942 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to “go to war.

I would not experience the horrors of the battle fields, the solemnness of burying a comrade at sea, the horrible sight of a kamikaze pilot diving on my ship, or the unknown future from one day to the next. I never experienced being aboard a ship when all I knew was that I was somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Women were not allowed to “go over seas.” Only nurses wee allowed to do that. The women with whom I served would have been willing to do so; it was a topic of conversation often with us. So we served where we could. We certainly were on the front lines of information about War. We heard first hand what was happening to our shipmates. We would hear about the Pacific Island battles. Yes, we heard about the terrible casualties and always the successes.

I watched the ceremony today at Arlington National Cemetery. The laying of the wreath at the tomb of the Unknown, the prayers, the music, taps, and the remarks of the President and others. It was indeed a Memorial Day celebration. It truly was about all who have died protecting our precious freedoms, but it was more. It was about every single one, a person with a name, a home town, a mother and father, siblings, dreams, and courage beyond most of us. It was about the loved one, the athlete, the sparkling eyes, the letters home, and the knock on the door telling those who remained at home that their loved one wasn’t coming home. Every single one had the same flag next to their individuality on their grave marker–private or general, seaman or admiral, young and mature, and now women or men. Each heard again the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, the President, their military bosses, the prayers for peace, pand finally,Taps.     



A Half-Baked Cake

Don’t go off half-baked.  That’s a half-baked idea. Like so many expressions in our lexicon, the derivation is the Bible. I am constantly amazed at the depth of the contribution from our Christian Heritage to our daily life. I am also amaze at how little it is recognized as the basis of our culture and our values as a nation “under God with liberty and justice for all.”

This is such a terrific metaphor. If you’ve ever taken a cake out of the oven too soon, you truly do have a worthless cake. All the ingredients are wasted, the luscious fragrance of a cake baking in the oven is gone, and the cake is evidence of unfulfilled promise. It is a testament to a lack of patience. Maybe the environment was uninviting, the temperature not correct, somebody slammed a door and the cake “fell.” Maybe there wasn’t enough leavening agent in the batter. My mother always used to warn us about that when the cake was in the oven. :Don’t slam the door,” she would admonish, “The cake is in the oven.”  

I don’t want to be “worthless as a half-baked cake. I want to be worthy of the gifts I have been given. I have been given the greatest leavening agent of all–faith. It is the grand and glorious gift that can help  us to rise to heights of service we could not have imagined. We have the ingredients–the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.  

We have no reason to be half-baded.












The Gift of Time–I’m too Busy to………

I’m so busy. There’s so much going on. I just don’t have time. And on and on about  being too busy.

  One of two things: perhaps we are too busy doing things that won’t make a difference to anyone, or we have forgotten the gift we have in our busyness.

The gift of having something to fill our days with activities that can make a difference to someone, somewhere in our lives; is enormous. You don’t even need rose-colored glasses; you just need to look through the positive side of the lenses rather than the negative. 

The gift of being busy is the gift of hope that you have been entrusted with activities that can make a difference. It is the joy and pleasure that can be added somewhere in your universe. It is the opportunity to practice compassion and love in lives around you. It is the opportunity to serve, serve, serve.

I have the gift of this day. There are no rainbows on my ceiling this morning; because the sun has been replaced today with gray skies; those gray skies are filled with the hope of the coming rain.  

P.S.  If you’re still too busy, punch the delete key on some of the stuff tha won’t make a difference to anyone.