I wasn’t planning to post today. I have way too much work to do before heading home for swimming and park playing with my wife and kids. So, this is going to be brief! Upon receiving a much-appreciated cup of coffee, the barista at my local café sent me off with a very pleasant, “enjoy ‘Grilling Day’!” She meant well. I was lifted up by her authentic smile and the effort that I know it takes to consistently provide excellent service, even while working on a holiday. The word service can be defined as: the action of helping or doing work for someone.
This morning, the barista that I’m referring to helped me. She worked on making a very tasty cup of coffee that I’m extremely grateful to be drinking right now, and then she enhanced my experience by adding well wishes and a smile. I appreciate all of it, and on this beautiful Memorial Day, it made me think about what it means to serve in our military. I’m in the habit of thanking our military personnel for their service, which seems appropriate given the work that they do to help an enormous amount of people. However, today, as I reflect on what that service truly means, I wonder if I should actually be thanking those in uniform for their service…AND their sacrifice. They certainly work hard to help others, but think about the implications of that work.
The word sacrifice can be defined as: the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. The men and women who bravely serve in our military are protecting the freedoms we enjoy, while literally risking their lives. Is it not incredible that these courageous individuals consider the fidelity of our freedoms to be more important than the potential of losing their own lives…and in extension, that they act on that consideration? Military service is a true expression of putting the many above the few, or the one. I can only assume that soldiers would want us to celebrate by enjoying that which they put themselves in harms way to provide and perpetuate. I can only imagine they would celebrate the knowledge that we are here, grilling burgers, swimming in pools, laughing and playing, taking some time off to live the kind of lives that they, and their predecessors, have, and continue to sacrifice so selflessly to preserve.
Only through reflective projection can I even begin to consider that soldiers around the world are smiling today, thinking of their loved ones, and the multitude of others, who are safe in their freedoms as a direct result of the ultimate service and sacrifice that they have chosen to extend. I am grateful. I am grateful to those who serve and sacrifice today, and for those who have given so much to sustain the wonderful life that I am able to share with the people I love. I am truly grateful that my children are growing up in a place where they can feel comfortable. I am grateful to know that there are people who care so deeply about that comfort, that they leave their own homes and families to travel around the world, taking extreme measures to ensure it. I think of them with the hope that they will return safely, and I grieve the loss, and with deep gratitude, celebrate the courage of those who have not.
I think that grilling, playing, laughing, and swimming are all wonderful activities to do today. I simply think that as we do them, we should be sure that they are coupled with extreme and authentic gratitude.
I hope you have a peaceful, happy, and reflective Memorial Day.
Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.