Today is a day of Remembrance so I am trying to remember...
I remember the history books that tell me that war has been a part of the human race for longer than the written word existed and that once words were written, they were often written by the victors.
I imagine, because I can't remember memories I have never shared, what it must have been like for my Grandfathers to march off to war, marching away from their families, marching alongside those who would not march back with them. Following orders in battle against other men following orders.
I remember all my uncles and cousins who bravely followed those footsteps to keep safe the freedom of their country and loved ones. I am grateful for the good fortune that sees them safe today.
I remember the countless men and women who came back and yet never came back. Whose hearts were far more broken than their bones and bodies. The warriors who came back and never stopped battling the shadows of the wars they brought home with them.
I remember the men, women and children in our very own free country who, because of their origin, were removed from their homes and placed in camps out of fear they might become traitors.
I remember the parents and spouses and children who gave their loved ones, in this country and the countries of our enemies and I imagine it is not always so black and white for them. Or maybe it is, maybe it is even more so. I remember that I can not possibly begin to understand, so I will keep remembering to remember.
I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the decision he made to conspire to assassinate a tyrant. He was unsure if his soul could be pardoned for murder, yet saw no other way to prevent thousands from dying. I remember that he was willing to live, willing to die, and finally, wrestling with his own faith and nature, he was willing to kill for what was right.
I remember Cambodia. I pray, in tears, for the country filled with children who have become the collateral damage of wars fought by other countries. For children who have become nothing more than a commodity to the wealthy pedofiles in free nations. I remember these children and cling to the hope that peace is possible. That the whole world will realize that the price of war is too high.
I remember that just because we are safe in our beds every night night, victors who have won our freedom, does not always mean we are the heroes. I remember this and pray for the wisdom and discernment of our leaders who have such a huge weight of responsibility. Those who decide when bombs are dropped and men are sacrificed and violence is necessary. I do not always agree with their decisions, in fact I often don't, but I respect their willingness to bear such a great burden.
I remember the radical peace-seekers who are teachers and missionaries and doctors and travellers doing their very best to find another way, to be creative, to look for glimmers of hope in hopeless situations. Giving their time, financial security, energy, sometimes their sanity, health and even their lives to mend the the unbearable brokenness found in the world. I remember those who don't just talk or type about peace, but lose themselves in search of it.
I remember that while we have the freedom to have our little Facebook arguments about whether or not TOMS is really helping people, while we complain about the new iPhone update, while we protest whether the poppies we wear should be red or white, while we whine about the cold or the heat or the snow or the rain or prices of gas, wars rage on. Many over the price of gas we complain about. I remember that our brothers and sisters are still being wounded and killed over causes they may or may not agree with. I remember that bombs are being dropped on human beings who may or may not have committed a crime. I remember that children are taking up arms against children because they are hungry and cold and someone with guns and an agenda has offered them food and shelter.
And then I remember, even if just for a moment, to stop complaining because I really have no idea how good I have it.
And then, after all that, I just try to remember, the best I can, to honour the intentions and heartfelt sacrifices of anyone, across this whole planet, who has laid down their life for the sake of others.
My heart heavy and my mind just a little confused of what my role is in all this mess, I finally remember this promise; "....and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."