Memorial Day 2020. It’s unlikely we will ever forget this day as an unseen enemy ravages nearly 100,000 families in the United States and over five million worldwide. Or will we remember? Do we remember how Memorial Day was observed in 1941 when emotions were raw and anger raged only five months after over two thousand lives were lost at Pearl Harbor? Or in 1968 when troops sloshed through the swamps of Viet Nam? Only those personally touched by those events can recall them in detail.

We are people with short memories and, according to experts, that’s not a totally bad thing. Ryan Fan writes, To survive, we must be able to compartmentalize, put us into the moment, and have selective short memories. That isn’t to say that we actually forget major life events… We will all have those life experiences and moments that are so emotionally salient and visceral that they stick with us… But even the worst things don’t stay with us when the time comes to focus, when we have a deadline coming up, or just navigating a lot of tasks that accompany daily life.

Although I didn’t have family members die or be physically wounded in war—but  emotional injuries scarred several—I put out the small American flag this weekend. I spent some time remembering tall Uncle “Slim” standing ramrod straight in his sharply creased uniform. Uncle Walt in his official Navy photograph with his impish grin caught even in that supposedly serious pose. Cousins Leonard crossing the Rhine and Earl on a ship.

But it was another remembering that caught me by surprise when I opened a “spy” novel the other day. The author sets his tale in the Middle East and before chapter one opens, I see a pen-and-ink drawn map of the area. Countries and cities now unfortunately known because of battles and refugee camps, death counts and parades of weary families hauling bundled possessions.

But then I recall another view of this area, one preceding the modern Middle East by centuries, one described by the author of Genesis. This very area now dripping with tears was once a garden watered by four rivers. Bomb burned trees today tilt precariously where lush branches once provided food. Shattered buildings where God provided shelter. Eden long forgotten.

We rightly weep over the sacrifices made by brave women and men in defense of their country. But today I also weep over senseless sin that burns souls like those blackened trees. Needless hunger when we have resources to feed all. Refugee camps when we have the means to free wandering people. And—most important—lost and weeping souls when we have the message of life.

It’s time to remember.



Recently my husband phoned to make an appointment with his doctor. But first, the pleasant voice queried: Have you been exposed to Covid 19? Have you traveled outside the U.S? Do you have a fever? Do you have any pain? What are your symptoms?

That conversation made me think of questions we might ask ourselves as this virus continues to work its seemingly endless evil intrusion into our lives. I offer them only because I’ve tried to honestly answer them myself while practicing truly living when all around seems to be dying, or at least wilting.

My mouth proclaims: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose and Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword (or Covid)? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, or any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:28, 35-39). (Paul’s long sentence really needs an exclamation point at the end!) But can I really believe that this world in which I currently live has not been forsaken by God? Is it possible that he intends spiritual growth during these days?

Read through the questions quickly, then return to each one. Give yourself time and space to ponder. Maybe record your answers in a journal. (Or if that sounds like too much work, find a scrap of paper!) These questions aren’t designed to condemn, but the answers may reveal just how much God is working in you, how close he’s been as most others are forced to be distant.  Above all, be ruthlessly honest. If you care to share your discoveries with me, write me at

What are your primary thoughts during these days?

What has been your emotional temperature?

What causes that temperature to uncontrollably rise or fall (i.e., what is making you angry, what brings joy, what have you been weeping about)?

What are you reading and/or posting on Facebook? How do your posts (or posts of others) affect you?

What are you learning about yourself while forced to live alone or only with immediate family?

Have you discovered anything about who or what you’ve depended on in the past? And why that dependence?

How has this time of enforced isolation affected how you talk with God? Any shouting or whining lately??

What has He been saying to you?

Is there a Bible verse you wish you didn’t know?😏 Why?

Who has been an encouragement? How? Who has discouraged you? How?

After all this, settle with a cup of coffee (or beverage of your choice!), and soak in these words from Philippians 4:8 (The Message): …you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.