“Those who wish to keep their life for themselves lose it. Those who give their life, those people find it. This is the truth. It’s a demanding but beautiful and liberating truth in which, little by little, we wish to enter as the cross journeys across the continents.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Thursday marked a very early end to our kids’ school year. It just so happened that my parents were going to drop off a Kindergarten graduation gift for Peter around the same time my older brother was going to drop off some homemade masks his daughter, Kayla, had made for our family. My younger brother and his fiancé joined, and soon we had our first impromptu family get together of the pandemic. I suggested that everyone bring their own pizzas and eat them at socially-safe distance in our cul-de-sac. As we yelled our conversation to each other from our individual camps, I noticed my dad get up from his chair and snap a picture with his iPhone. I didn’t think he even knew his iPhone could take a picture, let alone that he'd want to do it. "What’s the picture for Dad?" I yelled across the cul-de-sac. "Because my grandchildren need to show their grandchildren why they appreciate certain things one day." His quick response led me to wonder if he had some clue that this was a moment in our family’s history that needed to be captured, protected, cherished.
On this Memorial Day, have I reflected on what I cherish, what needs to be protected and what I am gaining because of what has been sacrificed? As we enter into the next phase of this pandemic, will my leadership in my family and in my ministry be shaped only by those things I hope to do in the future or will it be undergirded by a humble gratitude for the foundation that others’ have built in the past? I may never have to make the ultimate sacrifice of those we remember, but in order to grasp the "liberating and beautiful truth" of God’s purpose for my life, can I willfully give "little by little?" My dad’s photography skills are far from expert, but the picture he sent us was perfect.