Sunday, May 29, 2016

When it rains on the grave

The last time I flew to Minnesota the sky was grey—just like today.
It was the last time, too, that I’d written.
It was December then and as cold a day as I’d ever known.
Today, the end of May, it’s not so cold, but the sky is just the same. Dark, ready to cry.
I grabbed our bag off carousel number eight while my wife waited outside to catch our ride.
We drove straight out of Hubert H. Humphrey Terminal B and crossed the street into Fort Snelling—a terminal of another kind. 
We made our way to where we'd been. I remembered how the guns rang, the bugle played, the flag was laid, how we shook from the cold and how the tears fell like rain...
But not today.
As we drove to the other side of the hill the grey sky shook as it remembered and returned our tears. We turned on the wipers as fast as they could go.
But my eyes were dry. 
We walked from one weeping stone to the next. Finally on the edge of the hill, overlooking the little pond, we found his name, etched in stone.
Grass had started to grow over the muddy hole. As if on cue the sky bit back its’ tears and for a solemn moment we snapped pictures with wet phones.
When we were through, the sky opened up again and soaked us to the skin. A cold wind whipped the rain across our face. I shivered and thought, ‘how fitting, for the start of this Memorial Day weekend. Here we stand among the graves and all the heavens are weeping.
But something was missing. The whole world was weeping—but where were my tears? Where was my mourning? Had my heart grown as cold as the stones lined up in rows for as far as I could see?
We made our way back to the car and I took one last look across the yard. I couldn’t get any wetter so what difference would another moment make? And that’s when it hit me.
It was almost as if I could hear the echoes of heroes who wouldn’t retreat from hell’s thunder or raining fire, with each pelt of rain slapping the stones...

“Oorah!” from the Marines.
“Hooyah!” from the Navy & Coast Guard.

“Hooah!” from the Army
"HUA!" from the Air Force...

Those stones weren’t weeping. They were shining. The sky wasn’t mourning, but honoring every soldier that had fallen, a baptism of sorts, a cleansing with a promise of a new beginning.
No the stones weren't weeping, but getting a spit-n-shine to look good for the parade.

Remember while you’re remembering…to make some memories, today.

God’s best to you and yours,
Happy Memorial Day

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