Monday, May 30, 2005

After worship yesterday, one of the men said to another man, "Memorial Day is a day for ghosts."

I agree. We remember, recall and attempt to hold in our minds what war does to our families, our communities and the world. Death, destruction, crushed dreams, broken futures. Great loss.
Orphans, widows and misery.

I am barely holding on to my rage at the loss of life here in the Backwater of young men and women. This war counts on National Guard troops to fight. Backwater, being a poor place, has a long history of citizens joining the Guard to supplement income. I know other places do this but here in Poverty Central, how did it come to this that our people would vote and agree to serve against their best interests? We are so poor. We are so ignorant. We are dealing with heavy losses.

I'm not proud. I do not understand it. I am sitting on the razor's edge of being supportive of those who choose to go to Iraq and outrage that American lives are being lost in a battle built on lies, oil and greed.

We put out American flags down the church walk yesterday. I'm fine with that. I don't want American flags in the sanctuary but outside, on Memorial Day, seemed sympathetic and aware of God's ability to heal.

We've been praying for rain and a thunderstorm began during worship. I felt a sigh of relief roll through the pews because cows will be happier, gardens will grow and dusty back roads will be mud rather than choking dust. It's raining now.

The LH and I will go to lunch then do errands. Maybe we'll go look at "property" which is fun for us and torture for the Casserole Kids.
LD is off at church camp. Unlike the advice my mother gave me, I told her to "blow it out." She grinned and said "ok" but would avoid being "sent home."
The LS is sleeping with OMC on the bed with him. Young Cat is asleep on the sofa purring.

I'm not as proud to be an American as I once was. Today is problematic.
What's going on with you?


Songbird said...

At the pastoral prayer yesterday, I asked God to help us know what is worth living for and what is worth dying for; that's the only way I know to approach this, St. C. I don't want to hurt the people who disagree with me, but on the other hand I can't pretend to be Rah Rah about Iraq. My Blue State has many, many serving there, too.

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I'm in a similar space myself. Just finished writing about it on my own blog.

You want to support those who have lost loved ones. But how to forget all those in Iraq who have lost loved ones.

How not to be angry at a war and policies I disagree with?

How not to have all this come to the surface on a day like today.

Makes me think it's time to organize another interfaith peace prayer service at my parish. All I can think to do is pray.

PPB said...


Anonymous said...

I think we as a country ought to honor our soldiers, but I think we should horsewhip the politicians who wrap themselves in the soldier's deeds.

"The soldier's sacrifice does not cleanse the hand of the polltical leader who places him on the battle field."


Quotidian Grace said...

I'd like to respectfully offer another point of view. I do generally support the war, but my purpose in commenting is not to debate those policies but to offer another perspective on reasons for enlistment in the National Guard or the armed services.

I do understand the financial incentive, particularly in a poor area, for joining and the resulting perception that therefore the burden of the fighting is disportionately falling on one class of people.

However, In my affluent ( and very red) area, those I know serving include:
--my nephew who has chosen a career as a naval surgeon instead of the more lucrative private practice he could establish,
--my neighbor's son who graduated from Vanderbilt with honors two years ago and also joined the navy
--my daughter's friend who is joining the marine corps this month after finishing his master's degree in counseling
--the grandson of one of my husband's law partners who just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq as an army ranger and plans to enter a graduate program.

Each of these young men sacrificed financially as well as in many other ways in order to serve their country as they saw fit. Whatever our views on the war, we can be proud of a country that produces young people like these.

Purechristianithink said...

Memorial Day is a tough one. I want to remember and honor the soldiers that died liberating my dad and grandma from the concentration camps--but I don't want to imply that the church of Christ ought to baptize every military manouver made in the name of the U.S. either. . . .

Anonymous said...

Pup here,
You say that you're not proud to be an American at this time. Hmmm. Well, we're certainly hated by various groups around the world and even bashing America by Americans on the blogosphere is pretty common reading fare nowadays. I wonder, however, if a little perspective would do us a world of good. Perhaps we should all go live in some of the countries that hate us for awhile. There are many Americans who have actually done just that.

Last Sunday we heard from one of our missionaries. She came to share her story of the ministry she does in northern China. This is a woman who simply followed her husband in his business to a foreign land, saw the desperate needs of people there and felt compelled to do what she could to meet those needs. She is like so many other Americans who do the same all over the world.

One of the situations that broke her heart and compelled her to action was the deplorable treatment of the handicapped. She shared with us their plight in China. Children with handicaps are not allowed to attend school. Adults are not allowed to work, only to beg or be supported by families that are already impoverished. They are treated as non-persons.

This was an almost identical story shared by another of our missionaries to the Ukraine. Several years ago she was merely a middle-aged woman who decided to go on a short-term mission trip. She too was appalled by the plight of the handicapped. In the Ukraine, as in China, they are treated as non-persons. She saw the need for wheelchairs and jobs and a simple loving touch and she went into action. Her ministry has grown tremendously and is making a huge difference in many lives.

Yet another duo of missionaries, a husband and wife team in their early 30's, shared with us 2 weeks ago the work they do in Romania. Here, the culture is infected by overwhelming deceit, corruption and negligent misuse of the environment. The general attitude is distrust of everyone, friend, neighbor and family alike. And so this fearless young couple saw a need and established a camp for children and youth to teach the value of truthfulness, responsibility and love of the environment.

America is a good place to live, for a great many reasons and not in spite of our political system but because of it. Americans are, by and large, a good people, who generally care about others not only at home but abroad also, even among people who say they hate us and distrust us. You yourself volunteer for a group that teaches the down-and-out how to work and hold a job. Obviously we're not a perfect nation and we're not a perfect people. Far from it. But there is so much that is good and wonderful here.

I think I'm proud to be an American. Yes, indeed.