The country music group Alabama, led by Randy from Fort Payne (AL), got it right in one of their old songs, “I’m in a Hurry.” Let me explain my meaning momentarily.
It’s still early morning on this Memorial Day 2014. My morning walk was quiet, sunny, and with no breeze to even stir the American flags hanging limply from several of the condominiums.
Adding to the solemnity of this day, was a small detail to many people perhaps, but one that hits close to home to this guy—only a few of the colors were properly posted at half-mast. Yes, I understand this is a minute detail; however, I think it represents something larger, though subtle, in our current country and culture, that deserves consideration on this most solemn of American holidays.
Perhaps in the busy-ness of our lives, we take too little time to slow down (another song from another genre—“Slow down, you’re going too fast; we’ve got to make the morning last.”) and think—reflect on life–which leads me back to the Alabama song.
I’m in a hurry to get things done, Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I really got to do is live and die, But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.
Please don’t misunderstand—I’ve lived the majority of my adult life in a hurry, so this essay isn’t about perfect writing, hoping that imperfection will get it together! Quite the contrary—it’s about each of us taking time whenever possible to actually reflect on life and the things that really will matter in the end.
Yesterday, Debbie and I were at CrossRoads Church in Columbus (OH), where I performed my patriotic show SALUTE! for their Memorial Day weekend service. The program includes another country song that draws one to reflection—“Little Folks,” by Charlie Daniels. After walking the listener through childhood, the song conclude with these words:
Little folks slip through our hands like so many grains of sand; We’d best enjoy them while we can—so soon they slip away.
In the show, SALUTE!, the closing visual of that song is a photo of my oldest son Justin and I, walking across a public lawn in Washington DC, with then-one-year-old Jayden (Justin’s second son) between us, holding his dad’s and Papa Pete’s hands. That photo is always a personal reminder that life is fleeting. According to the Bible, life is a vapor that vanishes ever so quickly.
I have no clue what your plans for the day might be for this Memorial Day 2014. However, I hope you will take a few quiet moments somewhere along the trail to think. Think about the countless numbers of lives sacrificed for your freedom. One of those lives was my son Justin, a career Marine, but also a husband to Patty and a father to Jared, Jayden, and Caitlin.
BTW, do you pray? If so, while you’re meditating on the price tag of freedom, why not offer your gratitude to God of the freedom and manifold blessing that are ours as Americans? Perhaps you could appeal to the Lord, asking Him, the God of all comfort, to provide a special measure of comfort to those families who observe this somber holiday with an empty seat at their table.
Although Justin Dale Peterson (or JDP2, as he is affectionately known in the family) is missed beyond description by his extended family, it’s safe to say that we understand to some extent that this is the price of freedom. Freedom is not free.