This morning my 5 year old asked “What is Memorial Day?”
I have decided that being in the flow of my life is being honest with my children even when I feel the answer is hard to say or to hear. This isn’t always easy. Sometimes my understanding of the truth includes information I find emotionally or spiritually challenging. This was one of those times.
OK that was a painful conversation the first time – do I really need to have it again?
I’ve decided to take emotional refuge in the fact he does not remember the conversation or what war is. I hope it fell so far from what he knows to be true that it had no place to land in his little body and so he rejected it.
At least that is what I am telling myself.
I gave him the cliff notes version of war- two countries fight with each other. And sometimes when they fight, people on both sides die. And on Memorial Day we remember the men and women that died for us, or at least the ones that were on our team.
“You mean people die when they fight?” he asked wide-eyed.
My eyes had already welled up when I started to say that people die – this question really did me in.
“Yes little M, they sometimes die.”
“Even the good guys?” (Yes, even the good guys.)
“Who are the good guys?”
Yikes – getting into difficult territory. Retreat, RETREAT! I tell myself. Luckily little M has lost any interest in the topic but I’m still reeling. I don’t understand war on so many levels and yet I do. I am in a mini-mental war with a neighbor and can’t seem to let it go.
I know I’m right and am just waiting for the day to prove it to that annoying neighbor! (I know she thinks she is right to – hence the war.)
Why do we as humans do this? I know finding my way out of the battle for rightness is a big piece of getting in the flow of my life but I must admit it is a tantalizing battle.
As I write this I am reminded of a lesson I have learned from many spiritual teachers over the years. If I want to end war, I must start with myself. If I want my children to grow up in a world where we talk about war in the past tense – that change needs to start with me.
So in honor of Memorial Day, in respect of all those men and women who laid down their lives with – I believe – so many positive intentions of peace and freedom, I am ending my own war. I should understand why I am fighting my mini-war better than I understand the bigger wars on earth and I don’t, so I am choosing to end it.
It is the one meaningful thing I can do for my little M today.
It is the one meaningful thing I can do for you and for me.
Will you join me?