Hearty Holidays 001: Memorial Day 2018
welcome to the first post for things related to holidays and happiness. Today's entry is much more personal and journal-like that most of my crafting posts. I want to take the time to reflect upon, and thank, the everyday heroes who are in my life and community who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Read more below to see how I reflect on this week's theme.
With today being Memorial Day in the U.S., it's a great time for me to focus on this week's theme of HEROISM. So what is heroism? Well, to me, heroism means courageous selflessness and bravery. In our home we definitely have a pride and gratitude for the armed forces and those who serve our country, state, city and neighborhood. We like to spend this day in quiet contemplation about what others have given up for us. While TJ and I have differing perspectives on what patriotism is and how we define it, but what I value about what he brings to our home is the deeply held respect and thankfulness he displays day in and day out for those who serve. I feel like it's a cornerstone in our home because of his quiet leadership in how he shows respect for those dedicated service men and women.
What's funny is when I started this post, I felt like I had to look sooooo far out to see where heroism shows up in my life. And then the more I reflected, the more I realized that I am surrounded by a great community of everyday heroes.
Not going to lie, I felt a bit embarrassed.
TJ is a firefighter in our town, and we also have several family and friends who are in the police force and also serve in another capacity. I think sometimes I forget that these people in my life, who are so tangibly close, serve me and my community in a heroic way daily. I'm about to get super goo here (don't tell him) but what TJ and his fellow firefighters do day in and day out is really nothing short of inspirational. His whole department exemplifies what it means to serve.
And while we graciously laugh and tolerate the "hey, those firefighters just get paid to workout all day" jokes, what these men and women do is nothing short of heroism. Missing holidays with their families, not being able to attend every basketball game, giving up free time to cover overtime shifts, getting less than 2 hours of sleep per night when calls come in, performing CPR and doing everything possible to save a life, literally staring death in the face, educating youth and communities with awareness programs, serving on holiday celebrations as security and safety points, using extrication techniques (the jaws of life) when there are intense car crashes, being exposed to harmful carcinogens and chemicals in fires that research still cannot definitely say what the impact will be, tolerating the increased risk of heart disease or high blood pressure... the list seriously goes on. And all those things I just listed are simply from a future wife's perspective.
So one way that we reflect on this overall understanding and gratitude for those who serve, and for those who have lost their lives serving their country and community, is that we display a pallet flag I made for TJ one Christmas. While proper etiquette may say that displaying anything other than a real flag itself is kitsch or incorrect, we wanted to display something in our home to visually reference and fall back on.
And while I'm not trying to brag, I do have to say I'm proud of this flag. Mostly because I made it. From scratch. By hand. I toiled over this. Literal blood, sweat and tears went into making this flag. Back when I was in the first year of my career living in a big city, I literally took a hand saw and a crowbar to pieces of a pallet and cut and nailed all of the pieces together by hand. I stained each piece one by one in the alleyway behind my apartment on brisk, Fall weekends. I walked to the local art store to get wood glue and a backing, as well as the pieces needed to hang such a heavy piece of woodwork. And this may sound a big macabre or cathartic, but with every blister all I could think of was the meaning this would have in the house we would one day share. With every cut finger I thought about the pain and hurt that other families throughout the country, and world, felt thanks to the service of others in our armed forces. With every sore muscle I thought about how hard others in my community worked to protect and serve me.
And at the end of creating this flag, I felt a sense of achievement, pride and gratitude after handcrafting something that (little did I know) would come to symbolize one of our deeply held family values.
LOOK CLOSER FOR EVERYDAY HEROES
I think what I learned after reflecting on this memorial day, is that there are so many reminders in my daily living environment to be thankful for those who gave great sacrifices to serve the greater good.
I have a literal visual reminder in my living room that I see every day which helps to center me and remind me of what matters. I have a literal person in my living room that I get to spend the rest of my life with who reminds me every day what matters. The weight of the gratitude and thankfulness and pride I feel is sometimes overwhelming.
So I think what I've learned after reflecting this week is that heroism is so. much. closer than we could ever think.
What are some ways that you see HEROISM show up in your daily life? Leave a comment below to share :)
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