Reflections teaser

Remembrance matters

Early on a November morning, I awoke with my mind in a quandary pondering an essay which I felt the need to write. Stalling to rise, I enjoyed lazing in bed and picked up my daily book of meditations. Letting it fall open randomly, a passage appeared which enthralled me.

It addressed the ‘task’ of remembering blessings. I started to think about mine. The lamp next to my bed was dim, so I reached over and turned it up. The glare made me squint while my pupils got used to the light. Sitting between the flannelette sheets and other creature comforts, I mushed the pillow behind me and realized my comfort level was almost too much of a good thing. I was intent on getting settled to read or write, not intent on falling back to sleep sitting up like a slug.

The passage I read left in me a desire to write down things to be thankful for like the pillow’s plumped feathers alleviating the early-morning kink in my neck. I scrunched my shoulders to loosen the overnight stiffness and lingered in a mind fog over the phrase, ‘Recognize blessings.’ It pierced my cloudy eyes and jerked my consciousness into a state of alertness which surprised me.

The awesome words made me think of the date, and I calculated it was very near November 11th, ‘Remembrance Day’, and the significant phrase ‘lest we forget’ came to mind. In thinking of the veterans and victims of past wars, I remembered the poemized tribute to those buried in Flanders Field, France and envisioned the skies, battlefields and trenches where purposeful service people agonized and many gave up their futures and lives while those at home held onto hope and the purpose of their lives as well.

Only days ago I’d opened the drawer of my desk and handled the poppy lapel pins I’d collected for many years. In those moments of reflection, my heart suffered an angst over the history of the heroic spirits of soldiers sacrificing everything in the efforts for freedom… as represented in those bright poppies I’d worn. It hurt me to think about the humanity of legions battling, with unheard-of courage, and of the excruciating sorrow over fallen friends and family members.

Tears were shed that morning as I felt a dismal wave come over me because, like many others perhaps, I’d disregarded blessedness and in its place there was greed for more perceived deservedness. Knowing I couldn’t justify neglecting to recognize blessings and honour heroes including present day front line health care workers, I began to count. Starting with the big ones like God’s presence in my life, the blessings of family who’ve been well throughout the long duration of the COVID pandemic, our warm home and much more, I counted right down to the small ones such as three regular meals, pots of hot porridge, daily joyful activities and, at the door, coat racks of warm duds.

Mindful of my usual indifference to the notion of counting my blessings. I drew a deep breath and swallowed hard as a truth nudged my sleeping spirit. An inner voice, a redeeming voice, advised me that my job every day is to consciously notice and remember how much I am blessed and be eternally grateful for my country, my home, my loved ones and my life as I know it.

Validating this, my lips pursed into a whisper. Wow, thank you, I prayed, for it had been none other than my Creator messaging the noteworthy reminder to me. I concentrated, for a while on both the pleasantries and the challenges in life and came to the conclusion there are more of the pleasantries because we meet our challenges head on with one blessing after another. I was sure that the reckoning, to consciously take time for moments of reflection and remembrance each day, would lead to a worthy and natural habit if I did it often enough.

By mid-morning, with a clear head, I wrote out the essay for a Remembrance Day presentation in my church. I also made a decision not to think so much about the selfish things I gloat over, but to dwell instead on the blessings of being a Canadian wife and mother in a country where my freedom was won so valiantly by so many. I hope that I rarely have to feel conflicted and guilt ridden due to negligence; for, sincerely remembering blessings is a joyful thing one can do moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by precious day.

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